It is all about defense.
That’s why West Virginia will not win the BCS title over Southeastern Conference powers LSU or Alabama.
It does not matter how many touchdowns Mountaineers quarterback Geno Smith throws for against Baylor, a team that has no idea how to play defense.
If West Virginia can’t do it against a team that actually knows how to play defense, it can’t win it to pick up the crystal ball trophy at the end of the season.
Simply isn’t going to happen.
There is a reason that the phrase “defense wins championships” is a cliche. It is because it usually does, or at least it gives teams the chance to make a run at a title.
That is why the Harker Heights Knights now have a fighting chance to make the playoffs. That’s why they might play more than 10 games this season.
A little more than two days ago, it looked like no KISD team except Killeen had a shot at extending its season.
The Knights offense was a mess — and still is. They still have only scored 17 points in four games.
A dismal output.
But they have also only given up 55 (13.8 points per game) and now have one key shutout.
With a 7-0 victory in their District 8-5A opener at Leo Buckley Stadium, Harker Heights is in the playoff race that has seemingly expanded to six teams — with Shoemaker and Ellison on the outside looking in, hoping to play the role of spoiler.
Neither the Grey Wolves (1-3, 0-1 12-5A) nor the Eagles (0-4, 0-1) have the defensive tenacity to make it. Shoemaker was crushed for 69 points by Syracuse quarterback commit Zach Allen and the Temple Wildcats. Ellison was crushed for 46 points by Waco Midway (4-0, 1-0), despite the fact that the Panthers only had the ball for 15 of the game’s 60 minutes.
Defense also seems to be a problem for Killeen, after Copperas Cove (3-1, 1-0) mauled them for 64 points and they gave up 41 points to Round Rock Stony Point in back-to-back weeks.
But unlike Heights, the Roos (3-1, 0-1) have a high-powered enough offense that they could knock off Belton or the Knights themselves and get one of the four coveted playoff slots at the end of the season.
Unless they get overpowered by a strong defense, of course.
That’s what happened to Belton (3-1, 0-1). The Tigers had rolled Bryan and Round Rock for 42 and 41 points in back-to-back weeks.
But against the Knights, they got nothing.
Belton had three second-half turnovers and only 178 yards of total offense.
And more importantly, the Heights defense came through when it mattered.
With less then 2 minutes on the clock, Belton was locked into a do-or-die fourth-and-goal play from Heights’ 18 after Heights cornerback Tyrel Stokes knocked down a pass intended for Tigers’ sure-handed receiver Derick Bates on third down.
On fourth down, Belton quarterback Peter Shelburne, who threw two interceptions and completed less than half of his passes, didn’t find any open receivers down field. So instead, he threw a jump-ball to tight end Durham Smythe, a Texas commit, in the left corner of the end zone. However, fellow Longhorns commit Naashon Hughes swatted the ball down with 1:37 left to play.
Stokes had a one-handed interception and two pivotal deflections on third down to stall a pair of Belton second-half drives.
Overall, the Heights defense was just better than the Belton offense Friday night.
So the Knights got the win and are back in the playoff race.
And it’s all because they do one thing right — play defense.
Contact Nick Talbot at email@example.com or (254) 501-7569