As the primary contributors of an entirely new receiving corps, Harker Heights seniors Jordan Weller and Thai Goodwin have plenty of big shoes to fill on Friday nights.
But to Weller and Goodwin, they are simply stepping into a role that they’ve played essentially since junior high school as the primary targets for Heights quarterback and Army commit Troy Smith.
“It’s backyard football (to us),” Weller said.
Now, after strong showings in Heights’ spring game and its intersquad scrimmage against New Braunfels Canyon, Weller and Goodwin will finally have the chance to show what they can bring to the Knight passing game tonight when Heights opens the season against Waco at 7 at Waco ISD Stadium.
Weller and Goodwin first met Smith in the fourth grade, and the trio first played football together in the seventh grade.
Because of that, despite just recently moving to the top of the varsity depth chart, the two have impeccable chemistry with Smith as was evidenced in a practice sequence Thursday.
In 11-on-11s, a defender jumped offsides, causing everyone to stop — except Smith and Weller.
Weller sprinted down the right sideline with a defender draped all over him only for Smith to lob a pass that Weller went up and grabbed for a long completion.
“We all know exactly what we’re going to do exactly when it happens,” Smith said. “And that’s how we work together.”
Smith connected with Weller on a similar pass for a touchdown in Heights’ scrimmage — the same scrimmage where the shifty Goodwin later went untouched on a 55-yard jet sweep for a touchdown.
It was a fine example of the contrasting styles the two have that allows Heights to stretch the field vertically and horizontally, Knight head coach Jerry Edwards said.
“I bring speed,” said the 5-foot-6, 150-pound Goodwin. “I’m a versatile receiver — can fit in tight places and carry the ball a lot of yards.”
“I’m going to go get the ball, and I’m going to run you over, that’s about it,” said Weller, an imposing 6-2, 185 pounds. “I’m going to bring it to you — see if you’re ready.”
Smith has all the confidence in the world in his top two targets, as does Edwards, who said they look more than ready to step up and lead the receiving corps.
“They’ve worked extremely hard,” Edwards said. “They’re both really great kids — likable kids, coachable kids. They compete hard. They complement Troy very well.”
And now, against Waco, the trio is ready to show the Lions, and the rest of District 12-6A, what they have believed since last year and perhaps even since junior high.
And that is that they are ready to play key roles for an explosive Heights offense.
“We’ve been waiting for the moment the whole time,” Smith said, “and we’re finally going to get let loose.”