The setting may have been different, but the Killeen Kangaroos and Leander Lions once again went down to the wire. And like last year, it was the Roos starting the season off with a win. Jamaal King rushed for 131 yards and a touchdown, Killeen’s defense forced three turnovers and the Roos scored the final 10 points to edge Leander 20-13 at Leo Buckley Stadium on Friday. Killeen beat Leander last year 23-20 after scoring the winning touchdown with 24 second left. Hector Velasquez booted a 30-yard field goal with 26 seconds remaining this season to cap the scoring. Neil Searcy got his first win as Killeen head coach and spoke with the Herald’s Albert Alvarado after the game.
What are your thought about this game, your first win as Killeen head coach?
I have faith in those boys. They played hard; they were going to fight and they showed a lot of fight tonight.
What was the anticipation of the game like on Friday afternoon?
It wasn’t too tough. Every game was kind of the same. Being the head coach and being the defensive coordinator, I guess it’s a little different, but it was a great win for us. We’re excited about getting the first one and moving on to Round Rock. I think it’s very important to start the season off with a win.
How fun was it to watch Jamaal King run with the ball?
That’s what we expected from him all year long; we saw it in the spring. He came out in the second half, ran the ball tough and that’s what we wanted to see from him.
What are some of the coachable/fixable things you saw in this first game?
There were some mistakes, we had a bunch of mistakes and things we’ve got to get fixed, but the great thing about it is we got to see them. We’re going to go back this week and we’re going to get to work on them at 1-0 instead of 0-1 and that’s a good thing.
Killeen led 3-0 at halftime. What was your message to the team?
I told them to keep fighting. I knew at some point our offense was going to kick in and start moving the football. I told the defense to keep playing stingy defense and if we weren’t going to let them score, we were going to win the football game. The kids, I’m proud of their effort and the way they kept fighting, they stayed in the game in some tough times. I just can’t say enough about how proud of the guys I am.
The Roos scored 10 unanswered points in the final 6:26. How were you able to close out the game this strong?
In the fourth quarter, we talk about finishing all of the time and that’s what they did tonight. In the fourth quarter they tried to take over the ball game and that’s what they did tonight. We talk about finishing all of the time and they finished tonight.