Take care of business.
Those were the parting words longtime athletic trainer Al “Doc” Wilson left with the Killeen Kangaroos after the annual Maroon and White game Thursday night.
And the Roos didn’t disappoint as the two teams went back and forth until the White team pulled ahead to take a 42-28 victory.
Killeen head coach Neil Searcy didn’t pick the teams or divide them by position but instead opted to have his coaching staff draw their players in a mock draft.
“We like to have fun with it,” he said. “The coaches had to pick their order and be strategic about it.”
Searcy looks at the spring game as a fun way for his team to end their spring workouts, but he knows that his athletes were ready to leave it all on the field.
“The kids worked hard all spring long,” he said, “and for them to come out here in the spring game with how we had them teams split, it’s good to see them put up points.
“And to come out of it injury free, that’s the biggest thing.”
Satisfied with the progress and growth he’s seen in his players over the spring, Searcy looked to use the game to see which of his underclassmen are ready to step up and accept a starting role.
“We played a lot of young guys tonight and I got to see a lot of those guys make some plays,” he said. “A couple guys had some interceptions for touchdowns.
“They played really well.”
The White team got on the board first, but freshman Kadarius Marshall made sure his name was in contention for starting tight end as he covered 70-yards for a touchdown to tie the game.
The second quarter started with the Maroon team getting ahead 14-7, but the White team responded with a touchdown before taking a 21-14 lead into halftime.
After the break, Nate Kamper got the game going once again for the Maroon team as Terry found him for a 35-yard catch.
“He is definitely a weapon,” Searcy said of the sophomore. “When you got a guy who’s 6 feet, 6 inches, who you can throw the jump ball to against some of these little (defensive backs), it’s always an advantage.
“And it was truly an advantage tonight.”
Searcy hopes to see Kamper be a match-up problem for smaller defensive backs in the fall.
Typically, the Roos throw the jump ball to Kamper, knowing he can stretch to make the catch, but Searcy was impressed when he caught the slant and ran into the end zone to put the Maroon team up 28-21 in the fourth quarter.
“That was great to see from him,” Searcy said. “We expect big things from Nate in the season.”
Colin Price quickly tied the game once more as he rushed for 65-yards on the very next play before the White team took a 35-28 lead over the Maroon team.
The Maroon team fumbled late in the fourth quarter, and Timothy Twilley recovered the ball and scrambled down the field to put the White team ahead.
With less than a minute on the clock, Jayden Hill intercepted a pass from the Maroon team and ran the ball into the end zone to secure the White team’s victory.
As the players gathered in the middle of the field after the game, the team reflected not only on the end of their spring training but the end of a 57-year career.
Every player listened close their undivided attention as the 78-year-old Wilson left them with words to live by.
“Take care of business,” Wilson said. “Every day.”
Ask anyone at Killeen High and they’ll tell you that Doc is the definition of a “true Roo,” so the Killeen team gathered together in the middle of Leo Buckley Stadium to say their goodbyes to Doc in true Roo fashion.
Surrounding their athletic trainer with their hands in the air, one player yelled out, “Doc’ on three.”
And everyone followed: “One. Two. Three. Doc!”