HARKER HEIGHTS — There is no other option but moving on.

Entering Friday’s contest against fourth-place Waco, Harker Heights had an opportunity to create a nine-point cushion over their opponents in the District 12-6A standings.

It did not happen.

The Lions scored the game’s first goal almost immediately, and the Knights could not recover, losing 2-0.

While a victory would have moved Harker Heights, which

remains in third place despite the loss, one step closer to clinching a playoff berth, Knights head coach Chris Padilla knows the game no longer matters.

“We could have had a nine-point gap over fourth place,” he said, “but the reality is that’s out the window now. We have a three-point gap, and we have to focus on that moving forward.

“Our magic number is 30 points, and we are sitting at 26, so four points in our last three games is an obtainable goal, it’s within our reach, and we are still in control of our own destiny.”

The Lions immediately got on the scoreboard, needing less than five minutes to record a goal.

With 35 minutes, 26 seconds remaining in the first half, Giver Ocampo punctuated a breakaway with a short goal off an assist from Jose Pichardo.

The score held into halftime and for most of the second half.

With approximately 15 minutes remaining in regulation, however, Harker Heights (9-6-5, 7-2-4) were on the verge of tying the score several times but could not convert.

“I just feel like it wasn’t our night,” Padilla said.

“We created a lot of opportunities, but we just didn’t finish on them.

“Waco did what it’s good at, and we just didn’t capitalize on ours unfortunately.”

Moments after the Knights’ failed attempts, Waco (8-8-3, 7-4-1) added to its cushion.

In the 65th minute, Joaquin Gonzalez scored on a breakaway to help secure the outcome.

Now, with just three games remaining in the regular season, including Tuesday’s match against second-place at Waco Midway, Padilla knows his team must refocus.

He has no concerns they will, though.

“This group rallies around each other,” Padilla said. “They really do fight for each other even when adversity is stacked up against us.

“We have a lot of character and a lot of mental toughness in this group, and I think we’ll be able to rebound from this loss and learn from it.”

12-6A SCORES

  • Shoemaker 2, Ellison 0
  • Temple 5, Killeen 0
  • Waco 2, Harker Heights 0
  • Waco Midway 8, Copperas Cove 0

Contact Clay Whittington at clayw@kdhnews.com

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