By James Harper
Killeen Daily Herald
Sometimes sparks come in strange and unexpected forms and the Harker Heights Knights got one of those in Friday night’s 2-1 road victory over the Shoemaker Grey Wolves.
In the 48th minute, two Heights players argued with one another so fiercely the referee had to stop the game for several minutes to remove the players from the field until they calmed down.
“We’re very much in the hunt but it’s definitely put us on edge within our team,” Knights’ coach Jared Cruddas said. “After the scuffle, it kind of sparked us. We were down 1-0 but were able to come back.”
After the issue was settled, Knights sophomore Hank Broyer and senior Nick Pirino scored in the 65th and 73rd minute, respectively.
“I told the players that this was the worst win I’ve ever been a part of — they didn’t seem to want it till the end,” Cruddas said. “But a win is a win and three points in a hunt for six points is better than no points.”
Cruddas and his team were in fifth place in the district standings before the game trailing Copperas Cove, but the Bulldawgs lost 5-0 to Belton, allowing Heights to pass Cove in the standings for the all-important fourth seed and final playoff spot with two games remaining.
Heights (13-8-3, 5-6-1 8-5A) faces Temple at home and Midway on the road next week to end their regular season.
The Knights started slowly, allowing the Wolves to dictate the pace of the game. Shoemaker (8-15, 2-8-1) pressured Heights for the first 60 minutes of the match by keeping the ball in the Knights’ zone and using their team-speed to keep the pace fast and furious.
Despite a field was battered with rain during the day, the Wolves were able to hold their footing and showed no ill effects from the field conditions.
“The kids played hard. They love to play, so they are not going to quit,” Shoemaker coach Greg Jordan said. “They just got tired at the end, but I think our kids played really well — it was a fun game.”
In the 33rd minute of the first half, Grey Wolves forward DeMarcus Kennedy was fouled and received a penalty kick. He converted it for the 1-0 Shoemaker lead.
“I am proud of the way we played tonight,” Jordan said. “We just have to finish the last two games strong.”