Ellison found itself down 20-7 early on in Friday night’s tilt against Harker Heights at Leo Buckley Stadium and, coming off last week’s stunning 38-3 defeat at home to Copperas Cove, could have folded tent.
But the Eagles didn’t.
Led by three touchdown passes from senior quarterback Carl Robinson III to junior wide receiver Jyaire Shorter — the two connected for four touchdowns on the night — Ellison scored 28 consecutive points to snag a 35-20 third-quarter lead, and it was able to hold off a late rally by the Knights to win 35-33.
With two minutes left in the third period, Heights junior tailback Jameel Hodges punched the ball across the goal line on a 4-yard run to cap off a 10-play, 75-yard drive.
Junior place-kicker Seth Bodolus made the extra point, and the Knights (5-3, 2-2 District 8-6A) pulled within eight, at 35-27.
With 4:14 remaining in the contest, Heights punctuated a nine-play, 80-yard drive with a 1-yard quarterback sneak by senior Robert Gray to get within two.
But the Eagles (6-1, 2-1) were able to stop Knights senior running back Madu Eneli right at the goal line on the subsequent two-point attempt to preserve the win.
The two offenses combined for over 800 yards of total offense — Ellison had 415, and Heights racked up 456. The Eagles picked up 21 first downs to the Knights’ 20.
Robinson was 15 of 20 for 291 yards in the ballgame, and Shorter recorded eight receptions for 187 yards.
The Knights finished the game with 322 yards on the ground. Hodges had 16 carries for 87 yards, junior Jaquan Tillis had 10 carries for 125 yards, and Eneli tallied 12 carries for 119 yards.
Heights received the opening kickoff, and it took just three running plays for it to reach pay dirt, the latter of which was a 45-yard scoring gallop by Hodges for a 7-0 lead.
With 10:36 remaining in the second period, Tillis scored on a 34-yard run to put Heights up 13-0 after the extra-point attempt was blocked.
Ellison got on the board on the next possession with 8:07 left till halftime, as Robinson connected with Shorter on a 12-yard touchdown pass.
Junior kicker Morgan Button made the point after to make the score 13-7, Heights.
Later in the half, the Knights faced a 3rd-and-47 situation from their own 22-yard line. But Gray found Tillis on a slant route that traveled 45 yards to set up 4th-and-2 at the Eagle 33. Heights then elected to go for it, and Eneli took a handoff 33 yards to pay dirt to put his team up 20-7 with 3:41 remaining in the half.
But Ellison responded quickly by traveling 65 yards on just four plays to score. The drive was culminated by a 38-yard touchdown pass from Robinson to Shorter, and the Eagles were down 20-14 at the 1:56 mark in the second period.
Ellison then forced the Knights into a three-and-out on the subsequent possession, and Robinson connected with Shorter for a third touchdown — this time on a 31-yarder — to give the Eagles a lead they would not relinquish, at 21-20, with just 17 seconds remaining in the first half.
On the opening possession of the second half, Robinson found Shorter for the tandem’s fourth scoring play of the evening, a 65-yard pass to put Ellison up 28-20 at the 11:12 mark in the third quarter.
The Eagles scored their final touchdown on a 6-yard run by sophomore running back Tyereon Hill to take a 35-20 lead with 6:21 remaining in the third.
The exciting contest also saw its fair share of yellow flags. Ellison was penalized 13 times for 120 yards, and Heights was flagged 13 times for 127 yards.