Harker Heights and Shoemaker will face off in the final cross-town showdown of the District 12-6A season tonight at Leo Buckley Stadium. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m.
The Knights (1-8, 1-6) struggled with injuries throughout the season, but the future is bright with freshman Terrance Carter at quarterback.
Carter was moved up from the Knights’ freshman team after concussion protocol had sophomore Shaun West was taken out of the game versus Belton and sophomore La Princeton Dixon was removed from the game against Killeen.
In his varsity debut against Ellison, the 14-year-old quarterback completed six passes for a total of 171 yards, including an 84-yard touchdown pass to senior running back Jaylan Washington.
The Knights come into the game following a bye to face the Grey Wolves (1-8, 1-6), who lost to Copperas Cove 41-35 last week despite a late rally.
“Our kids have a lot of character, they’ve been through a lot in the last few years,” Shoemaker head coach Toby Foreman said. “It’s a mix of old and new guys, and finally, we mesh together well, and we move forward.”
The Grey Wolves broke 27-game winless drought in October with a 47-10 victory at home against Waco, but the players have their eyes set on taking another win before the regular season comes to a close.
Despite consecutive losses since the history-making game, Shoemaker posted 21 points in the fourth quarter after trailing the Bulldawgs 28-14 to begin the fourth quarter.
“Vance Brown — our kicker — he did a really good job,” Foreman said. “So, we made some big plays in special teams too. Our punter — Tristan Clay — did a great job and our snapper too.
“It was an overall team effort to get to where we are today.”
Shoemaker’s defense also had a big night with several stops, including keeping the Bulldawgs from scoring when they started a drive a at the Grey Wolves’ 12-yard line.
“A couple times, we had some big stops in there and a couple turnovers,” Foreman said. “Tigi Paul had three interceptions, and he probably could have had seven.
“There were times when we made big plays, and there were times when we gave up big plays on both sides of the ball.”
Penalties are what Foreman believes really hurt the Grey Wolves during last week’s game.
“This is the most penalized game we’ve had all year, and that’s frustrating,” said Foreman of the seven infractions for 63 yards. “That got us behind the chains a lot in the first half, and those are things we have to get away from at Heights, because they’re going to be ball control, play action pass, and they have a freshman quarterback who’s athletic.
“They’re going to try and run the clock just like Cove did, so we can’t have a lot of penalties.”