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.”