In a game of big plays, they simply never stopped coming for Shoemaker on Friday.
And senior quarterback Ziere Banner put the final exclamation point on the night, in which his team rushed for 386 yards to pull away from Harker Heights in a 46-23 victory at Leo Buckley Stadium.
Banner led Shoemaker with 156 rushing yards as teammates Rayshun Spearman (112) and Derrick Thomas (100) also reached the century mark on the ground.
Banner capped his night with a 64-yard dash — one of eight plays of 20 yards or more by Shoemaker — followed by a 14-yard touchdown run on the Grey Wolves’ final scoring drive to seal the game.
“That’s really like signing off — like you sign a signature, that’s what it was,” said Banner, who had 299 total yards of offense. “I thank God that I got the open holes from the line, and I just tried to finish the game off.”
Heights (2-5, 2-2 in District 8-5A) never went away, coming up with four
explosive plays of its own in the second half, one of which was a 60-yard run up the left sideline by quarterback Troy Smith that pulled the Knights within 38-22 with 8:17 remaining in the game.
Heights had a chance to pull within one score for the first time since the first quarter after a fumble recovery on the ensuing drive, but Shoemaker (4-3, 2-2) stopped the Knights four straight times in the red zone to turn Heights away with just under five minutes to play.
Banner then put Shoemaker up 23 with his two big runs before corner Dwayne Williams ended the game with his district-leading eighth interception of the season on the Knights’ final drive.
“In order to be good in this district, you’ve got to play good defense,” Shoemaker coach Channon Hall said. “Our defense has been doing it well for the last couple of games, we’re going to continue to get better.”
The Grey Wolves went up 19-0 in the first half as Heights’ first five drives ended either in a punt or a turnover on downs. Heights’ only successful drive of the first half was its last, which ended in a five-yard touchdown pass from Smith to Gilbert Miller to cut the lead to 19-6 at the half.
But a fumble recovery on the opening kickoff of the second half allowed Heights to pull within 19-9.
Yet Shoemaker responded on big plays by Spearman, who stiff-armed defenders at the beginning and end of a 72-yard touchdown run, and Banner, who hit Nahome Anderson on play-action for a 38-yard touchdown after a recovery on the ensuing kickoff. Not even two minutes after Heights had pulled within 10, it was down 31-9.
“Just playmakers making plays,” Hall said, “that’s what happened,”
The Knights, however, scored 14 in the fourth to make it a game. Both touchdowns came courtesy of Smith, who had 167 yards passing, 83 yards rushing and a catch for 42 yards.
Yet Heights wasn’t able to overcome the ground game of Shoemaker, which put it up early and allowed it to pull away late.
“That’s what we practiced all week,” Banner said. “Offensive line, I give them big credit, and they did their part tonight.”