By Alex Byington and Angel Verdejo
Killeen Daily Herald
Although Harker Heights' true undoing came in overtime Friday at A&M Consolidated, it might not have had to come to that if not for some serious special teams issues.
Knights senior kicker Jake Harler, who had made 22 point-after attempts already this season and has range from 45-plus yards, had his first two extra points blocked as Heights took a 12-6 lead.
It was such a problem Heights didn't even try an extra point following its third touchdown in 27 seconds late in the first half, instead having holder Greg Haynes take the snap and run it in for two points and a 20-6 halftime lead over the defending District 12-5A champion Tigers.
A&M Consolidated rallied with three straight scoring drives and a 17-0 third-quarter run for a 23-20 lead. But if Harler had even made one of the extra points, the entire landscape of the game could have changed, allowing his game-tying 36-yard field goal with 3:24 left in regulation to be a potential game-winning score, and the Knights would still be alive in the district playoff hunt.
Wolves fight to bitter end
There wasn't much that went Shoemaker's way in Friday's 70-6 loss to Copperas Cove.
But no one can say the Grey Wolves (0-9, 0-6) gave up. Despite a lopsided first two quarters and 63-0 halftime deficit, Shoemaker kept moving the ball.
But those mistakes never did go away. Shoemaker fumbled 12 times - four in the second half.
The offense's best two drives were its final two. That included the Grey Wolves going 63 yards on seven plays, scoring on a 2-yard Johnny Jefferson touchdown run in the final seconds of the third quarter.
Cove going for first outright district title since 2005
Copperas Cove has been one of the state's top programs in recent history.
But despite the deep playoff runs and appearances in multiple state championship games, the Bulldawgs are in line Friday to do something they haven't done since 2005.
With a win over Harker Heights Cove can claim the outright District 12-5A championship. The win will also mean a perfect run through 12-5A for the Dawgs (8-1, 6-0).
Cove has already claimed at least a share. Second-place A&M Consolidated beat Heights in overtime Friday, but the best the Tigers (5-4, 5-1) can do is tie should they win and Cove fall this week.
The Dawgs won the 13-5A title in 2005, and tied A&M Consolidated for the 12-5A title in 2008.
Wildcat offense pays early dividends for Ellison
After three different quarterbacks combined to throw a District 12-5A-leading 21 interceptions through the first eight games, the Ellison coaches decided to go a different route with the quarterback position.
Turning it over to senior William Turner, who wears No. 40, Ellison's offense exploded as the speedy receiver/tailback accounted for 21 of the Eagles' first 27 plays and 121 of its 144 first-half rushing yards as Ellison led 6-0 at halftime - its first lead of the season.
Turner would go on to eclipse 200 yards on his 36th carry of the game, but finished with 41 carries for a career-high 170 rushing yards.
Second-quarter flurry leads Belton past Bryan
Down 10-7, and on the road, following a 79-yard touchdown pass from Bryan quarterback Zach Alvarado to Tim Willit, Belton needed a spark to get going.
Derick Bates provided that spark, catching an 80-yard pass from Peter Shelburne to give the Tigers a 13-10 lead. They never looked back.
Belton ran off 17 straight points against the Vikings, including Donavan Williams' second touchdown run and went into the half up 24-10 and eventually blew out Bryan 39-17.
Roos show big-play potential
Beginning with the first play of the game, the Roos' breakaway speed was on display.
Killeen (6-3, 2-2 8-4A) had four one-play scoring drives in the first half and seven of the Roos' nine touchdowns came on plays of 10 or more yards in a playoff-clinching 62-0 win over San Angelo Lake View.
Sophomore receiver Devyn Williams caught a 67-yard catch-and-run touchdown from sophomore quarterback Garrett Gaskamp on the first play of the game. Gaskamp threw for a season-high 194 yards and two touchdowns to Williams on perfect 7-of-7 passing. Victor Scott, William Matthews and Keaton Morris all had touchdown runs of at least 18 yards to snap the Roos' two-game losing streak and clinch a postseason berth for the fourth straight year.
Scott had touchdown runs of 18 and 80; Matthews had touchdown runs of 18 and 1; and Morris scored on a 29-yard run. Tyler Fye added a 10-yard touchdown run. Williams' only other reception was a 27-yard touchdown.
By the Numbers
-1 - Combined passing yards for Temple and Ellison.
3 - Touchdown runs by Donavan Williams, including a 50-yarder to seal Belton's win over Bryan.
4 - One-play scoring drives by Killeen in the Roos' big win over San Angelo Lake View, including a game-opening, 67-yard touchdown catch-and-run by Devyn Williams.
27 - Seconds it took for Harker Heights to score 20 points on A&M Consolidated during the final minute of the first half.
65 - Most points Copperas Cove scored in a game until the 70 the Bulldawgs put up Friday against Shoemaker. Cove beat San Angelo Central 65-6 to open the 2009 season.
134 - Yards for Shoemaker running back Johnny Jefferson against Copperas Cove on Friday. The junior was the game's leading rusher and scored the Grey Wolves' lone touchdown.
Copperas Cove (8-1, 6-0 12-5A) at Harker Heights (5-4, 3-3), 7 p.m. Thursday - With a win, Cove can claim its first outright district title since 2005. Heights will try to beat the Bulldawgs for the first time in eight tries.
Ellison (0-9, 0-6 12-5A) at Shoemaker (0-9, 0-6), 7:30 p.m. Friday - What is being called the winless bowl by locals, the Grey Wolves - who had shown signs of improvement before a 70-6 debacle at Copperas Cove - face their best opportunity to end a 31-game losing streak against a desperate Eagles squad that nearly upset playoff-bound Temple last week.
A&M Consolidated (5-4, 4-1 12-5A) at Belton (7-2, 4-2), 7:30 p.m. Friday - After defeating Bryan, Belton is attempting to make the district race even more interesting by bringing A&M Consolidated back to the pack with Temple, which is also 4-2 in district play. If Belton wins, all three teams would be tied with two losses, or Belton could surge into second if Temple fails to beat Bryan.
Killeen (6-3, 2-2 8-4A) at Waco Midway (7-2, 3-1), 7:30 p.m., Friday - Killeen, coming off a 62-0 win over San Angelo Lake View that clinched the Roos' fourth straight postseason, has lost three straight to the Panthers, including 49-18 last season. The Panthers are coming off a 51-20 dismantling of 10th-ranked Stephenville and has won three straight since a district-opening 26-24 loss to Waco.