LEANDER — Twenty-four seconds. That’s how long the Killeen Kangaroos had a lead during Friday’s season opener against the Leander Lions.
It turns out that was all the time they needed thanks to a good final drive led by quarterbacks Keondre Parker-Sheppard and Kenneth Arnold.
Both quarterbacks helped Killeen end the game with an 11-play, 71-yard drive that set up a 1-yard touchdown run by Brian Rubin that gave Killeen a 23-20 win over Leander at Bible Stadium.
“The team played well. They keep me up and I keep them up,” Parker-Sheppard said about the final drive.
Parker-Sheppard started the game and played into the third quarter, completing 6 of 19 passes for 71 yards while rushing for 54 yards on 12 carries. Arnold helped Killeen’s offense get some momentum in the third quarter and finished with 99 yards on 5-of-10 passing.
“The coaches felt I needed time to get things situated,” Parker-Sheppard said. “He stepped up really well for us.”
The Roos started the drive with Arnold at quarterback at their own 29 with 3:14 remaining and trailing 20-16. Arnold helped get things going with a 14-yard scramble on first down followed by a 10-yarder two plays later.
“There was no doubt at all. We were already saying we would win,” junior cornerback Eddie Adams said about the last drive. “We knew that Rubin is a great running back and he’d get it in for us.”
Parker-Sheppard took over the drive on the Leander 44 after the teams traded personal fouls.
After a sack forced Killeen into a third-and-13 from the Leander 47, Parker-Sheppard found Quemasi Brown for a 12-yard connection. Rubin took the handoff on fourth-and-1 for a 20-yard gain to set the Roos up in the red zone.
Parker-Sheppard connected with Brown again, this time for 11 yards, and gave Killeen a first-and-goal from the 6-yard line with less than a minute remaining.
“He got shaken up a little bit and they started playing the pass after we threw the ball better tonight,” Jones said. “Putting Sheppard back put the speed back in, the run threat and the speed threat. We just got to get better playing on Friday.”
Rubin finished off the drive with two runs, the second of which gave Killeen the winning score with 24 seconds remaining.
“You got to keep your head up; you can’t give up,” Rubin said about the mindset on the final drive. “It’s not over till it’s over and the last whistle blows.”
Both of Brown’s catches on the drive gave him a total of two for 23 yards.