“Watch out for them Roos.”
In the words of senior wide receiver D.J. Dormeus, that’s the message the Killeen football team has for its District 12-6A competition following the short pre-district season.
Although the Roos started the season with a loss at Round Rock Stony Point, Dormeus said the entire team knew it needed to pull together to get a victory in Killeen’s home opener Thursday night.
“We feel like last week was a game we should have won,” he said. “That really was a loss based solely on our team’s mistakes. So this week our goal was just to execute.
“We knew that if we executed that we would have the ability to get wins like this.”
And the Roos sure did execute.
Killeen had five touchdowns in the first half, three by sophomore running back Kadarius Marshall.
He went on to lead the Roos’ offense, rushing 192 yards to go with a 38-yard reception.
Killeen junior Nate Kamper started the season with five receptions and 98 yards against Stony Point.
Late in the first half of Thursday’s game, the 6-foot-6-inch wide receiver caught an 11-yard pass from junior quarterback James Terry in the corner of the end zone to put the Roos up 36-6 over the Rangers.
Dormeus caight two passes for 56 yards, including a 38-yard touchdown.
Roos senior Willie McGee returned five punts for 172 yards.
The Rangers fumbled in the middle of the second quarter and senior defensive back Taluai Hisatake recovered for the Roos.
Chris Ingram led the defense with three tackles for a loss and two sacks.
McGee contributed with two tackles and a late third quarter carry for 27 yards to put the Roos in scoring position to start the fourth.
“Winning in this district, you’re going to have to have some team wins,” said head coach Neil Searcy following the runaway victory. ”We’ve got to play well on offense, play well on defense and we’ve got to play well on special teams.
“It’s a three-phase deal, but I love the way my team played tonight.”
The Kangaroos know it will take a complete team effort but the players see the potential among each other.
“I’m excited because our team is really working together,” junior receiver Brandon Fox said. “And our pieces are falling into the right places.
“All offseason this is what we were hoping for and what we expected.”
And while the young, first-year varsity running back is quickly making a name for himself, Marshall gives credit to his team for his on-field success.
“If my (offensive) line hadn’t done what they did, I wouldn’t be able to have been able to do what I did,” he said of his standout performance Thursday night. “I give it all to my O-line.”
Searcy echoed the sentiment, “(Marshall) played a tremendous game tonight but he couldn’t have done it without his offensive line and everyone blocking for him.”
Killeen will start district play against Waco Midway at home on Thursday, and with the momentum they have from a win like Thursday’s, the Roos are determined to keep getting better.
“Midway is a great team,” Fox said. “But the thing I’m excited about the most with our team is. week after week, I see ourselves getting a lot better.
“If we continue to build on that, I think we’ll be great competitors for the district championship.”
Dormeus agreed, adding, “With teams being added into the district and having our preseason shortened — especially going into district play against a team like Midway — going in with a win, especially a big win like this, it’s definitely a big morale boost.”
The Roos can’t do it alone, as Searcy urged fans to continue to come out and support the team.
“We need to see you in the stands next week against Midway,” he urged.
As fans sat in the rain and drizzle through four quarters Thursday night, it sent a clear message to the Roos.
“At halftime, in the locker room, the coaches said that our fans were behind us,” Fox recalled. “And our fans have stuck with us through the rough years, but it feels great that our team is able to give back to the fans.”
Now that Killeen has had a taste of victory this season, the Roos plan to chase that feeling all season long.
“I’m looking forward to winning and I’m really excited about our team,” Fox said. “We have what it takes to win and our attitude is there, so if we come into every game like this one, we’ll do well.”
And for those who continue to sleep on the Killeen and doubt them, Marshall has one message: “Look out for us because we’re coming.”