On Thursday night, the Killeen Kangaroos took to the field looking to improve on last season’s 5-5 record. They matched up against a familiar foe at Leo Buckley Stadium — the Stony Point Tigers from Round Rock.
Last season, the Roos lost to the Tigers 21-14 in the season-opener in Austin.
When the clock hit zero Thursday, Killeen found itself on the wrong end of the scoreboard once again. The final score was 25-20 in favor of the Tigers.
Throughout the game, the Killeen defense played hard. They forced four Tiger turnovers — all in the first half.
Junior defensive back Jayden Hill had one interception — a 55-yard pick-six — and a fumble recovery. Siolosega Tauiliili had one interception.
The only returning starter on defense for the Roos, Ta’Shoyn Johnson, was disrupting the Tiger offensive line all game. Most of the Tigers’ success on the ground came when they were running away from Johnson.
However, the Tigers gave the Roos a bit more than they could handle. In the second half, Stony Point rode a strong, consistent running game to capture the lead in the third quarter.
Killeen had a 20-12 lead at halftime, but the Tigers ran the ball 22 times for 186 yards in the second half and scored twice in the third quarter to take the 25-20 lead. The rushing attack was so consistent that 85% of the Tigers’ plays in the second half came on the ground.
Despite being worn down by the steady ground game, the defense gave the Roos’ offense opportunities to capitalize.
Head coach Neil Searcy was proud of the way his defense played. He said the defense made marked improvement since its scrimmage against Round Rock High a week prior.
To Searcy, the thing his team needs to work on most going into next week’s game against Cedar Park Vista Ridge is offensive consistency. After the game, he said he continues to tell his players they need to play a full 48 minutes, but they only played 24 Friday night.
Searcy’s coaching philosophy is centered around running the ball, and the Roos did not do it well enough to overcome the second-half adversity.
As a team, Killeen finished the game with 28 rushes for only 116 yards. The Tigers were also able to bottle up the District 12-6A reigning newcomer of the year, Kadarius Marshall. The Tigers held him to just 67 yards on 11 carries and no touchdowns. The longest run of the night for Marshall was 34 yards, and it came in the fourth quarter.
Offensively, James Terry was 9-for-17 passing for 189 yards and a touchdown. He added 10 rushes for 35 yards. Marshall also had three receptions for 59 yards and one touchdown. Wide receiver Brandon Fox had one reception for 16 yards. Tight end Nate Kamper finished with two receptions for 59 yards. Quamon Williams had one reception for 11 yards. Treyvon Bohana caught two passes for 44 yards.
Killeen will take to the road in search of its first victory Thursday at Cedar Park Vista Ridge, with kickoff scheduled for 7 p.m. at Gupton Stadium in Cedar Park.