The Ellison Eagles had a simple plan: Let senior wide receiver Ta’von Gwynn make plays. The strategy was countered by a resilient Harker Heights team that stole a 34-28 victory in overtime Friday at Leo Buckley Stadium.
The Knights' Jameel Hodges scored on a 12-yard run on the first possession of overtime, and then Heights recovered an Ellison fumble to seal the win and complete a comeback from a 21-0 deficit in the second half.
Ellison led 21-0 with just over 15 minutes remaining when Gwynn scored on a 29-yard run late in the third quarter.
The explosive Eagle offense got off to a strong start, driving to midfield before punting the ball. Heights could not take advantage of the opportunity and punted after just three plays. Ellison muffed the punt, however, and Heights recovered but was unable to capitalize on the good fortune.
The Eagles received the ensuing punt and used great field position to quickly march 42 yards for the game’s first score.
Running back Antares Gillespie picked up 12 yards on two carries, followed by 23 yards by Tye Hill, including a 5-yard run for a touchdown.
The teams traded punts until late in the second quarter when Ellison struck again.
Gwynn hit sophomore Breezion Spiller for 20 yards through the air, then again for 28 yards and a 14-0 lead which the team carried into the intermission.
Heights opened the second half with consecutive punts and an interception, setting up Ellison with a short field along the way. The Eagles needed only three plays to take advantage of the field position, capped by a 29-yard touchdown by Gwynn. Ellison then led 21-0 with 3:07 remaining in the third quarter.
The Knights were trailing but were not done fighting. After a Heights punt, Ellison took possession deep in its own territory. Gwynn fumbled a handoff and Knights senior defender Joseph Evans scooped up the loose football and sprinted 20 yards for a touchdown.
Heights began its furious comeback.
Trailing 21-7 in the fourth quarter, the Knights forced another fumble which it quickly converted into a 31-yard touchdown by senior running back Hodges to shrink the Eagles lead.
Ellison answered right away with a 52-yard touchdown pass from Gwynn to Spiller to stretch the lead back to 14 points with 8:05 remaining in the game.
Heights went on to score three consecutive touchdowns while not allowing another defensively. The Knights needed a fake punt to extend the first scoring drive and capped it off with a 2-yard touchdown run by junior Marcel Ramirez.
With 30 seconds remaining in regulation, Ramirez hit tight end Andrew Piper over the middle for a 12-yard touchdown to tie the game 28-28.
Ellison was unable to score in regulation and the game went to overtime.
Ellison won the toss and chose to play defense first. Heights took advantage and scored on a 12-yard Hodges touchdown. The extra point was blocked, leading to a 34-28 lead. The Knights recovered an Ellison fumble on the next possession to seal the victory for the visitors.
The Knights improved to 4-4 overall, 2-2 in District 8-6A play; the Eagles dropped to 5-2 overall, 2-1 in district play.