To Killeen senior quarterback Garrett Gaskamp, it didn’t matter that the Ellison Eagles were winless on the season or came to Leo Buckley Stadium with a 28-game losing streak.
All that mattered was beating Killeen’s oldest rival one more time his senior year and helping the Kangaroos stay in the playoff chase.
Gaskamp completed 14 of 25 passes for 169 yards and two touchdowns to help Killeen beat Ellison 33-17 on Friday.
“We didn’t look down on them at all,” Gaskamp said. “We fought and did the stuff that we needed to do. We fought hard all week in practice and didn’t take them easily.”
The win keeps Killeen in the playoff race heading into the final week of the season.
Gaskamp also rushed for 36 yards and a touchdown while Devyn Williams caught four passes for 83 yards and Daniel McCants rushed for 42 yards on 15 carries.
“It’s just a tremendous rivalry,” Killeen coach Sam Jones said. “I thought the kids played hard against each other and I’m glad it stayed under control.”
Deon Burch led the Ellison offense with 66 yards on eight carries and Ellison got rushing touchdowns from Vincent Lobendahn and Markus Carson.
The Roos (3-6, 3-3 District 8-5A) started the rivalry game as the aggressor and immediately put the Eagles (0-9, 0-6) in a big hole in the first quarter.
Killeen capped a 17-play, 93-yard opening drive with a 12-yard touchdown run by Gaskamp eight minutes into the game.
Derrick Howard stripped Ellison quarterback Jacob Ledford of the ball on Ellison’s second passing attempt of the game to give the Roos the ball on the Eagles 28.
“They all hurt,” Ellison coach Trent Gregory said. “That’s why you work hard during the week is to play ball games and win ball games.”
The fumble was one of three Eagle turnovers in the first half. Killeen scored 21 points off six Ellison turnovers.
Gaskamp found Dante Ellis-Thomas for a 17-yard touchdown four plays later and on the ensuing drive he hit Williams for a 64-yard bomb that put Killeen ahead 21-0 with 42 seconds left in the opening frame.
“We were just thinking get up on them quick,” Gaskamp said. “We wanted to put their fire out.”
A new quarter did bring the Eagles a new life.
Ellison got on the board when Sam Weston hit a 33-yard field goal into the wind on the third Eagle offensive drive of the game.
After Killeen missed 32-yard field goal attempt of its own, Ellison went on its most successful drive of the first half. The Eagles were facing a fourth-and-1 from the Killeen 40 when Hayward Clay took an end around to the left side and went 39 yards down the sideline.
“That’s a play that we have several options off of and he was able to find some grass and made some good things happen,” Gregory said.
Lobendahn scored one play later.
to cap a 12-play, 80-yard drive and get the Eagles back into the game at 21-9.
The Roos did take back the momentum before halftime on a Cepedro Thomas one-yard score 26 seconds before the break.