By Kevin Posival
Killeen Daily Herald
BELTON – The local team that's boasting former high school standouts J.R. Turner and Greg Brown added a familiar Copperas Cove face two weeks ago in the midst of an injury-laden stretch.
While the CenTex Barracudas (3-3) struggled at quarterback with the injury to starter Bart Gloyd and the retirement of Shawn Bell, Lance Garner quietly replaced starting kicker Kyle Robinson a day before the Louisiana game.
Garner, now a P.E. teacher and middle school coach at Lampasas, missed two field goal attempts and had a third blocked, but converted all three PAT tries on his first day back with the club.
"It's a little tough getting back out there and kicking," Garner said. "My legs are a little rusty. I kicked a couple weeks ago in the Louisiana game on a day's notice."
Recently signed starting quarterback James Brown kept Garner plenty busy Saturday night in the Barracudas' 84-54 win over Odessa in the Bell County Expo Center.
"It was actually a tight ballgame going into the fourth quarter," said first-year CenTex head coach Chris Duliban. "(Brown) brings in so much confidence to the field and then with his abilities and talent, he just brings so much to the game."
Brown threw six touchdowns and rushed for another in the Barracudas' first win over Odessa in the team's three-year history.
In addition to Brown's scoring, he threw for more than 200 yards, rushed for 30 and threw just one interception in his Barracudas debut.
Against Odessa, CenTex had four interceptions, two for scores, and returned a fumble for another touchdown.
Garner converted nine of 12 PATs, one of two field goals and averaged more than 40 yards on 12 kickoffs.
Garner started as the only local product on the 2006 inaugural team that started 2-0, like this team, and made it to the first round of the playoffs and kicked a few games last season before suffering a groin injury and handing over the kicking duties to Robinson.
Robinson, who started this season, pulled a hip flexor two days before the Louisiana game, forcing Duliban and the Barracudas to coax Garner back into a CenTex uniform.
"The first game was a weird feeling," Garner said. "I hadn't played in so long and have been on the other side of the field coaching. I'm definitely glad to be back."
Duliban said adding another familiar face to the locker room only makes the Barracudas better and poised to make a push in the final half of the season.
"It's really great for the locker room," Duliban said. "We've tried to bring as many guys with experience and people with experience playing with each other, especially when you're trying to build a team. It's very important that you have confidence with each other, which is as important, if not more so, than experience with game."
Saturday night's win over the Roughnecks snapped a three-game losing stretch that included a pair of losses to Louisiana and one to Odessa. The win also put the Barracudas back at .500 before Sunday night's game in Katy, their first against the Ruff Riders this season.
"As for the team, they're closer (than in the last two years). Coaching-wise, it's more structured than it has been in the past," Garner said. "Talent-wise, we're just as good, if not better, than that first year and more knowledgeable about the game of (indoor) football.
"It's cool to be back on the same team and have the same goal and looking back on the old days," Garner added. "I knew of J.R. (Turner) in high school and played with Greg (Brown) for three years at Sam Houston State. It's good be back together and to see some old faces."
Contact Kevin Posival at email@example.com (254) 501-7562.