Harker Heights held its annual Red and Black game at Leo Buckley Stadium on Wednesday night, and the Red team took a 27-7 victory over the Black team.
After rain and lightning moved into the area Tuesday night, the Harker Heights’ coaching staff was forced to postpone its spring football game one day.
“The kids were all excited to go, and the energy was high yesterday,” Knights head coach Jerry Edwards said of the cancellation. “So, to kind of recreate that was hard at the beginning.”
While coaches use the game to evaluate their players, Edwards sees the game as a reward for his team putting in work over 17 practices and splits his offensive and defensive players evenly.
“The starters aren’t necessarily on the field at the same time,” he explained. “But it gives us a chance
to see how kids play with other kids and create depth this season.
“It was a good spring, and I got to see exactly what I wanted — a different style of offense, and we’re learning and adapting to it.”
On the defensive side, Edwards isn’t too worried as the Knights have seven core players returning.
“We pride ourselves on being a good defensive team,” he said. “Our linebacker core and our secondary is coming back. That group of guys are going to be a strength of our team next year.”
Although the defensive line is strong, Edwards feels “everybody’s competing.”
On the offensive side, the annual game gave him an opportunity to see how his two young quarterbacks could handle in-game pressure.
“I wanted to see who could manage the offense and who wouldn’t shake loose on a Friday night-type atmosphere here at Leo Buckley,” Edwards said.
La Princeton Dixon led the Red team in the first half of the game, helping create a 13-0 lead at halftime.
Max Jones played for both teams to add depth and started most of the first half for the Black team before switching to the Red team in the second half.
Shaun West took over for the Black team, and in the third quarter the Knights got on the scoreboard, pulling within six points at 13-7.
“They’re both really young quarterbacks and learning the position,” Edwards said of Dixon and West.
At the start of the fourth quarter, Patrick Martis rushed for a 64-yard touchdown that put the Red team up 20-7.
With four minutes remaining on the clock, Jalen Washington rushed for another 60 yards to help seal the team’s victory.
“We lost two really good running backs last year,” Edwards said of Jameel Hodges and Jaquan Tillis, who are both graduating this year. “They were a big part of our offense last year.
“We got a handful of tailbacks that we tried out in the spring, and we are trying to find that guy or that group of guys that can tote the load on Friday nights.”
It may be the end of spring ball, but Edwards reminded his players of the reality.
“Really, it’s the beginning of football,” he said.
The Knights now move on to their 7-on-7 schedule, including two state qualifying tournaments at the beginning of June.