"Now, I return to this young fellow. And the communication I have got to make is, that he has great expectations." - Charles Dickens, "Great Expectations"

The sand is already starting to fall from the Knights' hourglass.

The Harker Heights football team is still more than three months away from taking its first legitimate snaps of the 2012 season, but time is of the essence.

With a stockpile of Division I prospects, including one of the top-20 players in the nation, the Knights have the talent to be great.

But with elite talent comes elite expectations, creating a pressure cooker of potential that's either going to boil over or create a recipe for success.

For head coach Mike Mullins and his staff, now is the time to get it done.

In each of Mullins' first three seasons, the Knights have showed steady improvement, increasing their win total from two in 2009 to five last season.

This fall, Heights should make it back to the postseason.

Led by 6-foot-5, 320-pound Darius James, who committed to the Longhorns in March, the Knights have the talent to win.

And although James has been sidelined this spring recovering from a broken bone in his right foot, he should be healed for the start of preseason practices on Aug. 6.

Joining James will be 6-foot-4, 210-pound hybrid Naashon Hughes, also a Longhorn-commit, who is likely to see time on both sides of the ball after playing almost exclusively on defense as a junior. And let's not forget about another pair of potential Division I prospects in rising senior defensive back Tyrel Stokes and stout sophomore tailback Marcus Anderson II.

Of course, the Knights aren't without question marks. At the forefront is the quarterback position, where sophomore Damien Mays - who's shown a cannon of an arm on the baseball diamond - is fighting off freshman Troy Smith, known more for his quick feet.

Heights had talent last year - including current Texas freshman left tackle Camrhon Hughes - yet still finished two games shy of breaking out of its five-year sabbatical from the playoffs.

But yesterday, following the conclusion of their spring game, the Knights began a new chapter. As they move into the new centralized District 8-5A, which will join all four Killeen Independent School District programs along with perennial playoff foes Belton, Copperas Cove, Temple and Waco Midway, the time to make a move is now.

It's likely to take both Killeen and Midway, two 4As finding themselves back among the big boys, a little time to adjust.

And while they're adjusting, the Knights need to be the team that takes advantage.

If not, time could be running out on them.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.