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Harker Heights Jaylan Washington (24) is tackled by Belton's Ajay Payton (44) (left) and Denver Holman (16) at Leo Buckley Stadium on Friday, September 21, 2018 in Killeen.

Be ready, stay ready.

That’s a motto for the Harker Heights football program, and it proved true Friday night as penalties and injuries added up for the Knights in a 48-14 loss against Belton.

“It’s not going our way right now,” Harker Heights head coach Jerry Edwards said. “I know we’re a young team, but we can’t keep using that excuse.

“We’re four games into the season, and there are some mistakes we have to work on.”

Heights loss 77 yards on nine penalties and completed just four passes for 33 yards with a pair of interceptions in the first half alone.

And the Tigers capitalized.

In the first quarter, back-to-back personal fouls put Belton at the Knights’ 3-yard line, and Marques Aguilar ran up the middle, but Thian Pate blocked the extra point attempt to keep Belton’s lead at 20-0.

Then, just as the Knights’ offense was picking up momentum late in the half, Andre Gebhardt fumbled the ball, and it was recovered by the Tigers.

Harker Heights junior offensive lineman Ricardo Eversley was injured on the play, leading to an 11-minute delay as he was taken off the field on a stretcher by emergency technicians.

The break didn’t slow down Belton as quarterback Connor Carothers found wide receiver Denver Holman for a 13-yard touchdown pass to put the Tigers up 41-0 at the half.

“I just told them we have to cut down on mistakes,” Edwards said of the talk he had with his team at the break. “I told the guys that we’ve got a leaking wall. We can’t put one finger in one hole and let another one leak.

“We can’t keep trying to stop all the leaks. We’ve got to shore up and get better.”

With two district games complete against teams picked to make it to the playoffs, Edwards and the Knights turn their focus toward their cross-town rivals -- Killeen and Ellison – in the upcoming weeks.

But it’s the support of the community that continues to help keep the Knights’ heads in the game no matter the numbers on the scoreboard.

“Our fans do a great job,” Edwards said. “They want to win, and we want to win so they see the kids are putting forward a great effort. We’re getting after it on each and every snap.

“I appreciate them backing us and being with us through the highs and the lows.”

fcardenas@kdhnews.com | 254-501-7562

(1) comment

MAJAG89

Mistakes this Knights team needs “to stop making” in order to be successful.
1: Stop running on first down every time. Ok they don’t run on first down every time, they have actually thrown two passes in four games on first down. Both went for big plays. It’s ok to run on first down, but it’s not illegal to throw on first down either. Mix up the play calling.
2: Stop wasting time outs by not using them. The game was over but with a minute left and three timeouts still on the board, Mr. Edwards threw away a golden opportunity to get this third-string quarterback some “live playing time” by not trying to run a few more plays. The kid is going to need those snaps because odds are he’s starting or at least playing against Killeen this week
3. Stop accepting subpar officiating calls from the officials. Two Heights players went to the hospital with injuries Friday night directly because the officials failed to call a fair game. Over aggressive play that should have drawn personal fouls calls were not made by officials. Kids get hurt when officials don’t eliminate the cheap shots they miss because they are too busy being a spectator. Each official has a specific area to watch on the field. Based on the two ambulances required to take away Heights players Friday night, the back judge didn’t do his job. Both teams have to agree on selection of officials prior to the game. Mr. Edwards should NEVER agree to use these officials again.
4. Stop trying to be something they aren’t. Mr. Edwards like to talk about “wearing out his opponent and imposing his team’s will” on the other team. Only problem is his team doesn’t have the size to play that style of football nor does it have the depth. Mr. Edwards rarely plays more than two or three subs as most of his players play the entire game with no rest. Each game so far has ended with lots of young men with pristine uniforms on because they never got into the game. Develop a rotation plan so your best players still have something in the tank at the end of the game to give.
If the Knights can’t stop doing these things, it might be time to stop using Mr. Edwards as the “leader” of this team.

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