For the second consecutive week, Harker Heights was in position to erase a two-score halftime deficit, and for the second week its opponent kept the Knights at bay with big plays on the ground.
Jeff Carr rushed for 204 yards and two touchdowns while defensive lineman O’Sha Solomon sealed the victory for Temple with a fumble recovery returned for a touchdown to cap a 42-21 win at Leo Buckley Stadium.
Quarterback Chase Truelove also had 102 yards rushing and three touchdowns as Temple dominated on the ground.
“I thought our effort was outstanding,” Wildcat coach Mike Spradlin said. “I thought we stayed with the momentum we created the last couple of weeks against a team, quite frankly…those guys are very talented and very good.”
A week after Shoemaker ran for 386 yards against Heights, Temple (5-3, 4-1 in District 8-5A) piled up 381 rushing yards while taking advantage of each and every Knight miscue.
“We were kind of our own worst enemy tonight,” Heights coach Jerry Edwards said. “We gave them short field twice and the onside kick, and the fumble into the end zone and not getting the key stops on third down.”
Heights (2-6, 2-3) seemed to execute its game plan of keeping the Wildcat offense off the field, but Temple capitalized on the possessions it did have, and often did so very quickly.
Heights began the game with a 4 minute, 42 second drive that ended in a missed field goal and later chewed up 4 minutes, 59 seconds on a drive that was capped by Troy Smith sneaking in for a 1-yard touchdown and a 7-0 lead at the 9:49 mark in the second.
The Knights ran just 14 plays the rest of the first half as Temple scored 21 unanswered in just seven plays.
Temple began its rally with a 10-play drive that included its second fourth down conversion of the game and ended with an 8-yard touchdown run by Truelove to knot the score at 7.
After an 18-yard punt, Temple took over at the Heights’ 48 and scored in just three plays on a 36-yard scamper by Carr, who had 118 yards in the first half.
The Wildcats then recovered an onside kick and scored in three plays again on a 19-yard run by Truelove for a 21-7 lead with 2:41 to play in the first half.
But Heights rallied in the second half by forcing a three-and-out after a 73-yard touchdown run by Carr was called back on a penalty.
The Knights then pulled within a touchdown on a 1-yard run by Marcus Anderson II with 7:01 remaining in the third.
Anderson was hobbled again by an ankle he injured two weeks prior against Ellison, but gutted out 17 carries for 91 yards to help Heights stay in the game.
“I’m really proud of how our kids played,” Edwards said. “They played hard, they fought the whole game.
“We were really kind of in the game. The score doesn’t reflect that, but we were in the game all the way into the fourth quarter.”
After Heights pulled within seven points for a second time, Temple retaliated again in just three plays as Carr turned the corner on a sweep and raced past the secondary for a 63-yard touchdown.
On the ensuing Knight drive, James Judie not only sacked the quarterback on third down but also forced a fumble, which Solomon picked up and ran in from two yards out to essentially put Heights away.
“I was just proud of the fact that we grinded,” Spradlin said. “And then, of course, I think the fumble recovery for a touchdown down there was huge.”
And while Heights has its work cut out, with first-place Waco Midway and Copperas Cove left on the schedule, the Knights weren’t fretting after the game.
“We’ve just got to win two more,” Edwards said. “We’ve got two more games, and we’re going to do the best we can.”