When it comes to the gridiron, the four Killeen ISD schools don’t have to wait until the fall to renew old rivalries.
Each Tuesday, in fact, fans can watch one KISD rivalry on one side of the Leo Buckley field while a second one takes place on the opposite side.
This is the nature of the 7-on-7 round-robins that are taking place weekly this summer at the stadium each of the KISD teams calls home.
Each Tuesday the schools take on each of their KISD rivals for a week of bragging rights before a new chance to claim bragging rights comes a week later.
On one hand, the chance to compete against players they grew up playing with, or against, is a fun one for the rivals.
“It’s always fun,” Harker Heights quarterback Troy Smith said. “Everybody tries to make it as competitive as possible.
“Everybody comes out here with a lively attitude and wants everybody to compete. And that’s what everybody loves to do out here. We love to come out and compete in front of people.”
But all of that competition, of course, can also lead to a bit of chirping between rivals.
“Same as always,” Ellison quarterback Jacob Ledford said after a particularly chippy game against Shoemaker. “We hate everybody, and everybody hates us, so we’ve just got to keep working and be better than everybody else around us.”
But like every sport, that chippiness dissipated for the most part when the final buzzer sounded.
After all, the teams will see each other again a week later.
While the players found that level of competition fun, it also offered a chance to learn the tendencies of their rivals, which they hope will help when the teams take the field in the regular season.
“It’s pretty fun actually because a lot of us are friends,” Killeen quarterback Keondre Parker said. “We get out here, play football against each other, see how we build each other and how we’ve advanced through our years.”
But overall, the point of 7-on-7 is for the players on both sides of the ball to get a chance to develop.
And while practice offers that same opportunity, it certainly doesn’t hurt to have your rival staring you down across from you to ramp up the intensity.
“It’s fun,” Shoemaker quarterback Demetrius Taylor said. “You’ve always got to come prepared when you’re playing against anybody but especially your rivals.”