The Killeen Kangaroos’ come-from-behind magic was nearly used against them.
It must have fallen off when the Roos’ were shaking off their bye week rust early in the second half.
Round Rock Stony Point scored three touchdowns in the final three minutes, but the Killeen defense stuffed the Tigers’ go-ahead 2-point conversion attempt to keep the Roos unbeaten, 42-41, going into their District 8-5A opener next week.
“That’s a great football game. They came with that great Hail Mary pass for a touchdown, but we overcame it,” said Killeen senior defensive end Jeffrey Banks. “The two-point conversion, it was crucial. ... We did what we had to do.”
Killeen (3-0) shook off a 14-7 deficit by scoring on its final drive of the first half and first four possessions of the second half to take a 42-21 lead on Naaman Young’s 5-yard run with 10:14 left in the fourth quarter.
Young’s score sent the Roos’ offensive starters to the bench temporarily.
Stony Point’s Joseph Marrero cut the lead to 42-28 on a 45-yard touchdown run with 3:03 left in the game.
The Tigers (1-3), who have gone 1-2 in three straight down-to-the-wire games, recovered their onside kick attempt to set up Justin Gamble’s 20-yard touchdown catch from Aiden Barrera with 1:38 left.
Killeen’s Akeem Harrison recovered the Tigers’ next onside kick attempt, but Matthew Ballard gained just a yard on a fourth-and-eight fake punt try to the Stony Point 47-yard line.
Barrera completed a 6-yard pass to Jeremy Carr on first down and a 12-yard pass to James Gray on fourth down that gave the Tigers one final play attempt at the Killeen 39 with four seconds left. Carr brought down Barrera’s Hail Mary inside the end zone that trimmed the Roos’ lead to one.
“It surprised me that they decided to go for two,” Killeen coach Sam Jones said. “I think his kids were tired and they were beat up and that was probably the best way, he felt like, to do it that way. We appreciate it because it helped us come out of here with a win.”
Daniel McCants ran for 161 yards, including a 57-yard touchdown run that gave the Roos’ a 21-14 lead a minute and a half into the second half.
Garrett Gaskamp ran for 100 yards and two scores, including a 15-yarder that gave Killeen a 35-14 lead with 5:35 left in the third. In between, DeVarri McCray scored on a 60-yard jet sweep run.
Gamble, who finished with 79 yards and three touchdowns on nine catches, capped an impressive 13-play drive with a 3-yard touchdown catch from Damian Lindley that cut the Roos’ lead to 35-21 with 40 seconds left in the third.
Young, who finished with 13 yards on eight carries, capped the Roos’ scoring with his 5-yard TD less than two minutes into the fourth.
“We didn’t play well the first half,” Jones said. “We played just good enough to stay in the game, but, I thought that third quarter and about midway through the fourth quarter, we played hard. We played like we normally play and then we just kind of relaxed.”
Killeen scored the first punch, a 36-yard scoring pass from Gaskamp to Eric Jackson for a 7-0 lead following a Stony Point fumble, but it was the Roos’ only punch until Gaskamp’s 6-yard touchdown run tied the game at 14 with 2:11 left in the first half.
Marrero answered the Roos’ quick strike with a quick return. His 91-yard kickoff return set up Barrera’s 2-yard touchdown pass to Gamble that tied the game at 7 with 9 minutes left in the first quarter.
Stony Point’s special teams again came up again, this time with a blocked punt that set up Marrero’s go-ahead 2-yard touchdown run with 50 seconds still left in the first.
Killeen had three straight three-and-outs and missed a 33-yard field goal before Gaskamp and McCants moved the Roos’ best drive in the final five minutes of the first half to tie the game at halftime.
“It is what it is. We’re finding a way to win,” Jones said. “I’m going to take some of the blame for that tonight, trying to get some more people in. Then, they got a lucky break with our hands team out there and we didn’t field the ball. ... We’re going to have to learn to get that killer instinct getting ready to go into District 8-5A and open up with the defending district champ (Copperas Cove).”
Contact Kevin Posival at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7562