Though the opening week games have no bearing on the District 12-6A playoff race, the Shoemaker Grey Wolves, Killeen Kangaroos, Harker Heights Knights and Ellison Eagles look to take a big step during the opening week of the 2014 season.
“We’re tying to work out all of the kinks and see where everyone is at as we get ready for district play,” Shoemaker head coach Channon Hall said.
Shoemaker is coming off its best season in school history.
The Grey Wolves went 7-4, finished third in District 8-5A and made it to the playoffs for the second time in school history.
The Grey Wolves open the slate Aug. 29 against Bryan Rudder at Leo Buckley Stadium in Killeen. Rudder was 0-10 last season and has a new head coach in Will Compton.
Although there may be an element of surprise
with the new coach, Hall said he’s more concerned about how the Grey Wolves react.
“It’s going to be more about us than them,” Hall said.
The Roos were 3-7 last season, including a 3-4 district record that saw themfinish one game behind Copperas Cove for the fourth and final playoff spot in the district.
Killeen hits the road to open the season at Leander.
The Lions went 5-6 last year and made it to the Region I-5A, Division I playoffs.
“The program’s been pretty good the last six, seven years,” Killeen head coach Sam Jones said. “It’s going to be a good game for their kids and our kids.”
The Lions have a talented linebacker in Jacob Hanawalt, who is being recruited by Texas State.
Heights looks to get back into the playoffs this year and opens the season at Waco.
Head coach Jerry Edwards said that although every team would prefer opening at home, the game should give Heights a good test.
“Anytime that you start the season, you’re excited to get going,” Edwards said. “You get an opportunity to go to Waco High and play in that classic. I think it’ll be a good experience for the kids to go down there and play in that classic to start the season.”
The Lions finished with an 8-4 record in 2013 and ousted Granbury in the Region I-4A, Division I playoffs before falling to eventual state champion Denton Guyer in the area round.
The Lions feature star offensive lineman Joseph Gonzales, an Oklahoma recruit.
Ellison opens the season in Converse, but it won’t be taking on state powerhouse Judson. Instead, the Eagles open against Eagle Pass on Aug. 30.
Ellison is looking to snap a 30-game losing streak. Eagle Pass was the runner-up out of District 29-5A last season and will be in Class 5A this season (formerly 4A).