Harker Heights moved Damaria Moon from wide receiver to running back for times like Friday night, and against Ellison, the senior delivered.
With starter Marcus Anderson II hobbled by an apparent lower leg injury, Moon stepped up with two second-half touchdowns in the Knights’ 38-20 victory at Leo Buckley Stadium.
The Heights defense was instrumental in the win, harassing Eagle passers and allowing just seven points after the 8:24 mark in the second quarter.
“It’s nothing that has to do with me,” Moon said. “It’s just my team is so great out here, and they did their job, so all I could do was thank them.”
Ellison had a 14-10 lead late in the second quarter with a chance to add to its advantage but wasn’t able to capitalize on a fumble recovery and was outscored 28-6 from that point.
With the second-half outburst, Heights (2-4) improved to 2-1 in District 8-5A while Ellison (0-6) fell to 0-2 in its 26th straight loss.
Ellison pulled out all the stops in the first half, starting with a 20-yard reverse pass from Hayward Clay to Reggie Jackson for a touchdown that put Ellison up 7-0 with 8:27 remaining in the first.
Heights responded on its next drive — which Anderson capped with an 11-yard run — and later took its first lead of the game on a 36-yard field goal by Austin Roden at the 2:41 mark in the first.
Ellison reached into its bag of tricks again in the second quarter, dialing up the reverse pass a second time, resulting in a 75-yard touchdown pass from Clay to Jackson for a 14-10 advantage with 8:24 to play in the half.
The Eagles had a chance to add that lead when Heights lost a fumble on the ensuing kickoff, giving Ellison first and 10 at the Knights 19 after an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty was tacked on to the play.
But Ellison only went backward on the drive — losing 19 yards before turning it over on downs — and the Knights capitalized on the break, marching 62 yards in 13 plays, capped by a one-yard touchdown run by Gilbert Miller for a 17-14 halftime lead.
The drive, however, resulted in Anderson injuring what looked to be his lower leg, limiting him to just three carries the rest of the game.
But Heights was no worse for the wear, as Moon went 61 yards on the first play of the second half to give Heights a two-score lead, then capped the next drive with a 12-yard touchdown for a 31-14 lead with 7:37 to play in the third.
Moon had 72 yards rushing on 12 carries and two touchdowns, not to mention a 60-yarder that got called back.
“We moved Moon to tailback a couple of weeks ago just in case something like this happened, because he’s an electrifying player,” Knights coach Jerry Edwards said. “He came in and he did a tremendous job.”
Ellison, meanwhile, wasn’t able to crack the Heights defense again until a late touchdown catch and run by Jackson, who had eight grabs for 159 yards and three touchdowns.
In the meantime, Heights forced an Eagle fumble and turnover on downs and intercepted a pass when Brandon Walls picked one off late in the fourth.
The effort helped make up for 18 penalties by the Knights as the teams combined for 29 in the game.
“We talked about (that) at halftime. We just said, ‘Hey, we’re shooting ourselves in the foot,’” Edwards said, “‘Let’s go out there, let’s play our style of ball, let’s worry about the Knights and we’ll get this done.’”
Heights will face Shoemaker in its next game while Ellison will visit Temple.
Contact Jordan Mason at firstname.lastname@example.org or 254-501-7562