On the first series of its intersquad scrimmage Friday, Harker Heights gave up back-to-back first downs to visiting New Braunfels Canyon before consecutive penalties derailed the drive.
On the second series, however, it was Omar Johnson who derailed the drive, as the senior defensive end whipped around the edge for a sack that ended the Cougars’ drive and gave Heights momentum to carry for the rest of the scrimmage on both sides of the ball.
“Going into the rest of the scrimmage it was easy,” Johnson said. “After that first play, it was like clockwork.”
After the Knights forced a second straight three-and-out on the next series, the offense took the field and marched 75 yards in five plays for the only touchdown between the teams in the controlled portion of the scrimmage.
Troy Smith hit fellow senior Jordan Weller for a 4-yard touchdown to cap the drive, but it was senior Josh Ellis who moved the Knights into scoring position with four runs for 71 yards, including runs of 17 and 44 yards to start the drive.
Ellis — who had a 3-yard touchdown in the live portion of the scrimmage — and sophomore Madu Eneli were both effective on the ground in the scrimmage, not to mention receiver Thai Goodwin, who took a jet sweep 55 yards for the first score of the live portion.
For the Knights, seeing the run game work was a nice sign that the hard work this offseason had paid off.
“We put the work in every single day running the ball, passing the ball,” Ellis said. “We have run period, pass period, we spend a good 20, 30 minutes every single day inside just making it crisp so that when we get out here against other guys it just comes easy to us.”
The defense was also stout, allowing just three first downs in the live portion of the scrimmage, in which the Cougars never passed midfield.
Head coach Jerry Edwards said the Knights still have room for improvement, namely on the offensive and defensive lines.
But overall, the scrimmage was just what he’d hoped to see with eight days until the start of the regular season.
“It was exactly what I thought coming into it,” Edwards said. “I wanted us to kind of control the tempo, control the game and be good on defense, and I think we did.”