By Angel Verdejo
Killeen Daily Herald
BELTON - Not everything that happens on the 7-on-7 field carries over to Friday nights.
There's no pads, no offensive or defensive linemen.
But some of it does. For Killeen rising sophomore Garrett Gaskamp, that includes earning the respect of your teammates and being there when they need you.
Gaskamp is one of two Kangaroo quarterbacks vying to replace three-year starter Michael Cummings, who is now at Kansas. He only took a few snaps during Killeen's opening game against Belton on Tuesday in Week 2 of the 7-on-7 Cen-Tex Passing League at Belton. The Tigers edged the Roos 33-24, in a game that featured two 30-minute halves.
But in Killeen's final game against Copperas Cove, Gaskamp asked for the ball after the Bulldawgs cut the score to 7-6.
"I came in and threw a touchdown pass (against Belton), but my arm was hurting so I came out," he said. "We lost that game, so I came in at quarterback because my team needed me."
Gaskamp methodically moved Killeen down the field, throwing the touchdown pass and ensuing extra point for a 14-6 lead. Cove scored on its next drive, but missed the 2-point conversion.
With a 14-12 lead and four minutes to play, Gaskamp and the Roos picked up the first down they needed and ran out the clock to win the game and earn the split.
"It's nerve-wracking at first - especially because I'm so young," Gaskamp said. "But we practice so much that it will come during the season, especially if we keep doing 7-on-7. It will make it easier on us to be in these situations."
Belton and Salado both finished the day undefeated - the second straight perfect day for the Tigers, who went 3-0 last week at Cove.
Belton ended its day with a 31-21 win over Shoemaker. Salado notched wins over Shoemaker (31-14) and Belton No. 2 (45-8 and 25-0).
"The teams we play - they're good and everything, but these 5A schools are really good. We don't see competition like this every day," rising Eagle senior Jim Wentrcek said. "So knowing that we can beat 5A schools, it just gives us a boost in our confidence level."
Wentrcek, a linebacker, said the defense has taken extra responsibility in making sure Salado can compete in 3A, where the Eagles start their second year in the fall. Six times in 2010, Salado scored at least 26 points. The Eagles lost five of those games and allowed 38.7 points per game on the way to a 1-9 season.
"Last year, our defense killed us," Wentrcek said. "We had the offense and we were scoring at will, but our defense was giving up a lot. My goal is to have a good defense."
In the Linemen Challenge, Cove swept its way for a second straight week with 24 points. Killeen and Belton both tallied 13 points each to tie for second place. The Bulldawgs won all five events, which included edging Killeen in the bench press (109-104).
The league continues next week (June 21) at Killeen before wrapping up June 28 at Shoemaker.
7-on-7 Cen-Tex Passing League
Salado 45, Belton No. 2 8
Copperas Cove 13, Shoemaker 6
Belton 33, Killeen 24
Salado 31, Shoemaker 14
Copperas Cove 35, Belton No. 2 0
Salado 25, Belton No. 2 0
Belton 31, Shoemaker 21
Killeen 14, Copperas Cove 12