By Kevin Posival
Killeen Daily Herald
Even Shoemaker coach Channon Hall recognized that Friday night just belonged to DeVarri McCray.
The Killeen senior receiver caught two long touchdown passes in the second quarter, was named Mr. Roo at halftime and Killeen won its homecoming in celebratory fashion 38-6 over Shoemaker at Leo Buckley Stadium.
“I guess it was his night — he (McCray) won homecoming king and he caught a touchdown with three guys draped all over him, so it was just his night, their night, and they made some plays,” Hall said.
McCray had seven receptions for 115 yards with touchdown grabs of 39 and 47 yards to help Killeen (5-1, 2-1 8-5A) race out to a 24-6 lead at halftime and win its ninth straight game over the Grey Wolves.
“It’s a good night, but I owe it to my team for the two touchdowns,” McCray said. “Once we click on all cylinders, our team just keeps going and going.”
Garrett Gaskamp emerged from his passing slump to complete 16 of 22 passes for 199 yards and the two scoring throws to McCray. Daniel McCants, after fumbling the ball twice in successive carries in the first quarter, finished with 122 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries. Naaman Young ran for 47 yards and a score on 12 carries. Dominique Daniel also had a rushing score in the fourth quarter.
“I thought McCray did an excellent job going up and getting two great passes and adjusting on one. That’s what receivers do. I’m glad to see him emerge the way I think he should be, and I think he played like it tonight,” said Killeen coach Sam Jones said.
Shoemaker (1-5, 0-3) turned the ball over four times on three lost fumbles in the first 16 minutes of the game and a second-half interception. The Roos only capitalized on one and turned the ball over twice themselves.
“It’s just hard to get any rhythm going, anything going when you’re doing that,” Hall said of the turnovers. “It makes it hard to play football and we weren’t able to play good football tonight because of those turnovers. ... And, we just got in a hole.”
For the third straight game, Shoemaker senior running back Johnny Jefferson was mostly bottled up. The district’s leading rusher ran for just 52 yards on 14 carries, with more receiving yards than rushing yards (5 catches, 59 yards).
Quarterback Ziere Banner emerged as the Grey Wolves’ de facto play-maker on Friday. The junior completed five of 13 passes for 49 yards with an interception and was the team’s leading rusher with 67 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries.
Banner’s 22-yard run late in the first half gave Shoemaker its first points against Killeen since 2009.
“We can’t turn the ball over that much,” Banner said. “I can’t blame it on one thing or another. ... We’ve just got to get better.”
Gaskamp completed 11 of 13 passes for 162 yards in the first half and McCants and Young each had rushing touchdowns to help Killeen take a 24-6 lead at halftime. Gaskamp, who completed 16 of 43 attempts for 212 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions in his last two games, fired back-to-back scoring throws to McCray on the same go route up the middle on Friday.
“When I saw the safety was only eight yards deep, I knew we had them. I just looked at DeVarri, gave him a look and he knew,” Gaskamp said. “DeVarri’s a fun dude to throw it to. We’ve got that connection and hopefully we’ll be able to that throughout the whole year.”
The two teams combined for nine fumbles in the first half, including both trading fumbles on their opening drives.
After Killeen’s defense held on a fourth-down play, Young’s 2-yard touchdown run capped the Roos’ first scoring drive for a 6-0 lead with 3:22 left in the first quarter.
Both teams traded fumbles again before Gaskamp’s touchdown throws to McCray that gave the Roos an 18-0 lead with 9:53 left in the first half. McCants scored the first of his two rushing touchdowns on a 31-yard run with 2:06 left before Banner’s score in the final minute.
Both offenses were sluggish to start the second half until a bad snap on a Shoemaker fourth down try set up the Roos with a first down at the Shoemaker 35. Daniel gave Killeen a 31-6 lead nine plays later on a 2-yard run early in the fourth quarter.
Ronald Clark intercepted a Banner pass on the next drive to set up McCants’ 10-yard touchdown run with 4:38 left.