5A-4A Blitz Rewind: Kickoff return TD puts Knights back on track

Herald/CATRINA RAWSON - Harker Heights running back Jonte Burton carries the ball against the Killeen High defense during Friday’s game at Leo Buckley Stadium.

By Kevin Posival and Nick Talbot

Killeen Daily Herald

The Harker Heights Knights played their first half against Killeen nearly flawlessly.

They scored on all five possessions, committed just two penalties for 10 yards and led 31-0. But the second half started with a 15-yard interference call on the opening kickoff and Heights' first-half momentum snowballed away from them after that.

Another penalty, two fumbles and a dropped interception later, the Knights' once comfortable lead was reduced to 31-19 with three minutes still left in the third quarter.

Then came Greg Haynes' return.

After fumbling a kickoff return earlier in the half that led to a Killeen special teams score, Haynes took his next one 93 yards for a score with 2:48 left in the third quarter, putting an end to the Knights' self-inflicted damage.

Harker Heights didn't have a spectacular second half, but after Haynes' score, the Knights maintained their edge, giving up just one touchdown and forcing two punts in Killeen's final four drives.

"We've got to learn how to handle being ahead, which hasn't happened a lot," Mullins said. "I think we learned a lesson from it and we'll take the (bye) week and go from there."

Roos offense not ready to lead

Through the first two games, the pressure to lead has been shouldered by Killeen's experienced defense. Harker Heights, though, seemingly ran and scored at will on that group in the first half, and the Roos offense failed to counter in Killeen's first loss this season, 38-27.

The Knights scored on all five of their first-half possessions while the Roos (2-1) picked up just a single first down, gained just 23 total yards and, not surprisingly, trailed their rivals 31-0 at halftime.

Killeen's offense and defense both found a groove in the second half - the Roos outgained Heights 222-11 - but better play in the final 24 minutes was not enough to overcome the slow start and deep deficit completely.

Dawgs clean up act

Copperas Cove head coach Jack Welch said he and his coaching staff didn't do anything different in the days preparing for Friday's matchup with Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon.

But whatever the reason, one statistic was considerably different from the first two weeks of the season - penalties. Cove opened the year at Southlake Carroll, losing to the Dragons 38-31 while committing 10 penalties for 100 yards. The following week against Waco, the Dawgs were penalized 17 times for 145. There were 29 total penalties called between the teams.

But in Friday's win over Nuevo Leon, Cove had just two penalties - both coming in the second quarter. The two fouls were for 15 yards, an illegal block on a punt return and a false start on Cove's ensuing drive.

Belton still big passers

Just because David Ash is sharing time at quarterback for the Texas Longhorns and not roaming the Belton sidelines doesn't mean the Tigers can't chuck the long ball anymore.

Peter Shelburne completed touchdown passes of 310, 41 and 66 yards for touchdowns as Belton sped out to a 31-0 lead over 4A No. 8 Waco Midway.

The onslaught was too much for the Panthers to handle as they fell 38-21 to the upstart Tigers. Shelburne finished the game 14-of-22 for 258 yards and the three scores.

Eagles flying again

Under head coach Buddy McBryde, Ellison has been known by its ground game and wing-T offense.

Through the first two games this season, the Eagles had gained 305 rushing yards and just 72 passing, ranking last in District 12-5A.

Last season, with 1,300-yard tailback David Cobb carrying the load, Ellison's passing accounted for 31 percent of its total offense, In 2009, the split (14 percent) was far more drastic with more than 2,300 yards on the ground compared to just 400 through the air.

But all that flipped Thursday with the unveiling of junior quarterback Gregory Bryant, a transfer making his first varsity start. From the first offensive play - a pass - it was clear the Eagles' offensive game plan became more well-rounded as Bryant threw 33 times compared to 28 rushes with a balanced 155-136 yardage split.

Still no offense for Wolves

The Shoemaker defense has done its part the past two seasons.

But the losing streak still continues as the offense continues to stall. The Grey Wolves only managed eight first downs in a 19-7 loss to Waco University and its only touchdown of the night was set up by a long punt return. Shoemaker only had 147 yards of offense and is now averaging just 160 yards per game.

By the Numbers

2 - Penalties (for 10 yards) walked off against Killeen in its loss to Harker Heights. The Roos averaged 11 penalties for 90 yards in wins over Ellison and Shoemaker.

162 - Yards Harker Heights senior running back Marvin Jackson ran for in the first half against Killeen.

100 - Yards Cove's Orlando Thomas covered on his interception return in the fourth quarter against UANL. The touchdown was one of three interceptions Cove tallied against the Tigres, with Thomas breaking the school record originally set in 2002 by Anthony McDowell against Odessa Permian (93 yards).

33.3 - Completion percentage on throws by Shoemaker against Waco University, which including a crucial drop on a halfback pass from Johnny Jefferson.

46 - Rushing attempts by Belton in its upset win over 4A No. 8 Midway, including 33 by Donavan Williams, who had his second straight game over 100 yards.

33 - Passing attempts from Ellison quarterback Gregory Bryant in a 21-10 loss to Waco, throwing for 155 yards.

Up Next

Round Rock McNeil (1-2) at Killeen (2-1), 7:30 p.m. Friday at Buckley Stadium - Finally, Killeen gets a non-KISD opponent and both will be looking to rebound from rallies that fell short last week. The Mavericks have lost two straight and open their district schedule next week.

Angel Verdejo and Alex Byington contributed to this report.

Contact Kevin Posival at kposival@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7562

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