In a big tilt against Harker Heights on Oct. 14 at Leo Buckley Stadium, Ellison needed a strong offensive performance in order to capture a victory.
The Eagles received just that, especially at wide receiver.
Junior Jyaire Shorter caught eight passes for 187 yards and four touchdowns, and Ellison emerged victorious over the Knights 35-33. Shorter’s touchdown grabs went for 12, 38, 31 and 65 yards.
“First of all, he’s a great kid,” Eagles head coach Trent Gregory said. “He’s been working really hard, and he had a big ballgame against Heights, and we knew that was going to happen.
“He’s just a big, strong, tall, physical kid that runs really good routes, and he’s fast. He’s got really good feet, too. We were excited to see that happen for him.”
Each of Shorter’s four scoring grabs represented Ellison’s first four touchdowns of the contest, and they helped the Eagles erase deficits of 13-0 and 20-7 to take a 28-20 lead over Heights early in the third quarter.
Because of his outstanding performance in the Eagles’ win, Shorter was named the Freddy’s-KDHPressbox.com Player of the Week.
Gregory said Shorter knows he didn’t do it alone, and he credited the offensive line for giving senior quarterback Carl Robinson III plenty of time to get the ball to Shorter in order for the 6-foot-2, 205-pound pass catcher to have a big night.
On any given night, even if Shorter is having a field day like he was against the Knights, the threat of Ellison’s other three wideouts — seniors Jayden Smith and X’zavier Green, and junior Ta’von Gwynn — makes it difficult for opposing defenses to focus on taking him away.
“I wish we had four footballs to throw on every down, that’s for sure,” Gregory said. “They complement each other. When defenses do try to take one of them away or a couple of them, that’s going to give us opportunities to get the ball to the others.
“We’re real proud of our receivers in the passing game.”
Shorter, who received 31 percent of the vote, edged Gatesville senior setter Madison Carpenter for the award. Carpenter garnered 25 percent of the tally after a week that saw her dish out 31 assists in a sweep over Waco Connally, and she also registered 18 assists and nine aces in a sweep of Waco La Vega.
Others nominated for the award were Copperas Cove senior middle blocker Chyanne Chapman, Killeen junior quarterback Marcellus Johnson and Gatesville running back Alex Thompson.