By Kevin Posival
Killeen Daily Herald
HARKER HEIGHTS – Temple is a program with two state titles and in the midst of digging itself up from a lackluster recent history. Harker Heights only has recent history and as many playoff appearances in the last eight seasons as Temple has losing seasons in the same period.
Tonight could answer which team's playoff history continues when the Knights host the 13-5A-leading Temple Wildcats (4-3, 3-0) at 7 p.m.
On the year, the Knights (1-4, 1-1 13-5A) are allowing teams almost 400 yards of offense – 266 rushing yards and 132 passing yards.
The Wildcats' (4-3, 3-0) offense only brings 364 yards of offense into tonight's game at Leo Buckley Stadium, but they are riding a three-game win streak through the first three games of their 13-5A schedule, including wins over Bryan and A&M Consilidated – both preseason favorites to win the district – and a 56-0 thrashing of Belton last week.
"We've got to play team defense," Knights coach Todd McVey said. "They're big, they're fast and we've got to tackle them. We've got to gang-tackle and fly to the ball."
Sophomore Lache Seastrunk (72-880, 10 TDs) leads the potent trio, but more impressive than his team-high 10 scores is his 49-yard touchdown run average. Seastrunk has eight touchdown runs of at least 20 yards and six of 50 or more, including two 75-yarders and one 80-yarder.
"We've got to try and contain (Seastrunk)," Knights linebacker Bobby Cook said. "He's going to make plays, but we've got to keep him from making those big plays."
Senior fullback Adrian Reaves-Brown has six touchdowns – three last week against Belton – and 582 yards on 82 carries and wingback Quenten Tuck (67-425, four TDs) had touchdowns of 6, 15 and a go-ahead 9-yarder to beat A&M Consolidated two weeks ago.
"We've got to respect them ... run to the ball as a team," Cook said. "My job is going to be to contain and make a play. I've got to make sure nothing gets outside of me and then make a play."
Said defensive end Grant Uland, "I've basically got to get lower than the offensive linemen and blow up the play."
Despite Temple's obvious rushing tendencies in their revitalized Wing-T offense, senior quarterback Chase Moore (23-61-2-461, 2TDs) is doing more than just handing off to one of Temple's game-breaking running backs.
"Their quarterback is a great leader of that team," McVey said. "He doesn't have gaudy numbers and he drives their bus very well."
While the Wildcats' are very much a run-oriented offense, the Wildcats' defense allows a 50-50 balanced attack by opposing offenses, 189 yards rushing and 189 yards passing.
Harker Heights running back Chris High figures to keep pace with the three Wildcat backs as best as one can. He's averaging 140 yards a game on the season, and 182 since the Knights opened district two games and three weeks ago.
Last week, he cleared the 200-yard mark for the second time this year with a 212-yard performance in the Knights' 17-14 loss to Shoemaker.
"We can't live in the past," McVey said. "We've got to go forward."
The Knights edged the Wildcats 14-13 last season, but Temple and ill-timed penalties against the Knights made the game interesting in the second half after Harker Heights took a 14-0 lead into halftime.
Something, anything has to give tonight for the Knights. Something, anything except the defense, that is.
"They're good," Knights safety Efrin Hornsby said of the Wildcats' offense. "I have to keep them from getting outside of me and make sure they don't get anything too big."
Contact Kevin Posival at email@example.com or (254) 501-7562.