They were only guaranteed 24 more minutes.
Temple quarterback Zach Allen and Killeen running back Daniel McCants weren’t going to waste what could be left of their seasons.
Allen threw for 147 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 142 yards and one score in the second half to lift the Wildcats to a scorching 63-56 win over the Kangaroos on Thursday at Leo Buckley Stadium.
Officially, McCants ran for 317 yards — 266 yards and five touchdowns in the second half — and he’s not done yet.
Killeen (7-3) clinched its fifth straight playoff berth and first in 5A since 2001 because of Copperas Cove’s win over Harker Heights in their season finale the night after the Roos’ suffered their regular season loss to the Wildcats.
Temple running back Gaylon Sanders ran for 126 yards and two touchdowns on just 10 carries to give the Wildcats a
28-21 lead at halftime despite Killeen backup quarterback Eric Jackson completing 12 of 14 passes for 169 yards and two scores.
But with their seasons hanging by threads, Allen and McCants, relatively quiet in the first half, took over in the second half and left both defenses looking silly.
Behind their two stars, the two offenses combined for 1,382 yards, including 923 on the ground.
Still, only one of the two could advance.
Allen, who returned after missing the previous game and a half with a shoulder injury, did everything he could. The senior, who’s committed to Syracuse, finished his high school career by throwing for 244 yards and three touchdowns on 14-of-24 passing and ran 11 carries for 154 yards and another score in a bittersweet win.
McCants tied Travis Davis’ 2002 school and city single-game rushing record of 317 yards and finished the regular season with 1,796 yards, breaking Ja’Quail Haskins’ single-season school rushing record (1,550) set in 2010. And the junior has at least one more game to play this season when the Roos play Mansfield in a Division I-5A bi-district game on Friday in Waxahachie.
Jefferson shines in finale
The Grey Wolves didn’t need a big play from Johnny Jefferson.
Shoemaker needed its star running back to pick up first downs and keep the clock running.
Jefferson carried the ball six straight times for 32 yards and two first downs and, following a 7-yard sack of quarterback Ziere Banner and a 5-yard false start penalty, scored a 30-yard game-winning dagger on a third-and-19 play to give the Grey Wolves a 27-14 season-ending win over Ellison.
Jefferson, mostly contained throughout District 8-5A play, ran for 297 yards and three touchdowns in Shoemaker’s second straight win over the Eagles.
Jefferson finished his career with back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons, including 1,580 yards, 18 touchdowns this year.
Dawgs continue displaying offensive efficiency
Despite being without the offensive firepower of graduated playmakers Orlando Thomas and Brandon Hamilton, Copperas Cove hasn’t had any issue scoring this season thanks to the likes of Robbie Seybold and Vondareaz King, among others.
Averaging 40.8 points per game this season, the Bulldawgs (7-3, 5-2 8-5A) have been relentless in their prowess reaching the end zone, scoring at least 30 points in all but one game this season and averaging 39.7 points during its three-game win streak.
But it’s Cove’s efficiency that showed in a 34-6 win over Harker Heights, when the Bulldawgs won convincingly despite losing the time of possession battle by nearly 9 minutes (27:26 to 18:38).
That’s because Cove needed just 9:15 to score its five touchdowns, averaging just 1:51 per scoring drive, including two lasting under a minute — the first just two plays and 40 seconds as Rashaun Gibson ran a reverse 42 yards for a touchdown with 3:17 to play in the first quarter.
The Bulldawgs’ longest drive of the game was their next series, a 10-play, 76-yard drive that took up 3:21 and was capped with a 1-yard quarterback keeper from Robbie Seybold, the first of his two such scores.
By the Numbers
- 1,382 — Total yards of offense gained by Killeen and Temple in the Wildcats’ 63-56 win over the Kangaroos on Thursday night.
- 2 — Third downs the Knights (4-6, 4-3 8-5A) converted out of 12 tries in Friday’s 34-6 loss to Copperas Cove as Harker Heights’ offense failed on five of its six third downs in the first half. In fact, of the Knights’ two third-down conversions, they were only able to capitalize on one, when a 12-yard keeper by quarterback Troy Smith on 3rd-and-8 led to a 1-yard touchdown by Tyler Brown four plays later.
- 2 — Potential game-tying drives Ellison had in its loss to Shoemaker. The Eagles missed a 32-yard field goal on the first and turned the ball over on downs on the other.
- Killeen (7-3) vs. Mansfield (6-4), 7:30 p.m. Friday at Waxahachie — The Roos open their first 5A playoff appearance in more than a decade with District 7-5A’s fourth-place team. The Tigers won four straight games before losing to state-ranked DeSoto in the regular season finale while the Roos’ are coming off a shootout loss to Temple following back-to-back win over Belton and Ellison.
- Harker Heights (4-6, 4-3 8-5A) vs. No. 2 DeSoto (10-0, 7-0 7-5A), 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Waco ISD Stadium — After shocking the rest of District 8-5A with their 4-1 start, the Knights have dropped two straight at the worst time of the season and enter their toughest game yet against second-ranked DeSoto and Oregon-committed tailback Dontre Wilson (1,356 rushing yards, 26 TDs, ranked No. 52 in ESPN 150).
- Copperas Cove (7-3, 5-2 8-5A) vs. Cedar Hill (6-4, 5-2), 2 p.m. Saturday at Waco Midway — The Bulldawgs are in the playoffs for the ninth straight season and face dangerous Laquvionte Gonzalez, a Texas A&M commit who averages 8.3 yards per carry and has scored 20 touchdowns.
Contact Kevin Posival at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7562
Alex Byington contributed to this report.