By Kevin Posival
Killeen Daily Herald
WACO - It wasn't pretty, not on the field nor on the scoreboard.
But the final, Killeen coach Sam Jones can live with.
Naaman Young and William Mathews each reached the 100-yard mark as Killeen ran for 375 yards and ran over Waco University in the second half en route to the Roos' 44-19, District 8-4A-opening win over the Trojans on Friday at Waco ISD Stadium.
"I'm not making excuses, but I thought we came out flat for some reason and I don't know why - being a district opener and being a game of that importance. ... It was real big that we got off to a good start, we just didn't," Jones said. "When we picked it up, our emotions got a little higher in the second half, I thought we played up to our level, then we started playing ball."
Killeen (5-1, 1-0 8-4A) was flagged 12 times for 85 yards, including five false-start penalties, turned the ball over twice but outscored the Trojans 30-6 in the second half, ballooning a slim 14-13 halftime lead into its third straight win.
Young had 135 yards and three touchdowns on 16 carries and Mathews ran for 110 yards and his first touchdown of the season on 16 carries as the Roos' runners took over with their passing game struggling. Quarterback Garrett Gaskamp completed just one of his six pass attempts for 10 yards and threw one interception, but the sophomore had a big touchdown run late in the second quarter that gave the Roos a 14-13 lead at halftime.
Running over one defender and shaking off another, Gaskamp gave the Roos the lead back with his hard-charging 13-yard touchdown run with 1:58 left in the second quarter.
"He really ran tough. I thought that was a tough run for Garrett and for a quarterback, period. I think that kind of helped the team find something to build on," Jones said. "We just didn't play with a lot of emotion like we should have (in the first half) and that definitely help, definitely didn't hurt."
The Trojans (3-3, 0-1) pulled to within 21-19 on Adonis Haven's 22-yard touchdown pass to Zack Green with 25 seconds left in the third, but Haven was stopped short of the end zone on University's two-point try and Killeen turned the close game into a rout with three touchdowns and a safety in the fourth quarter.
"I think it was that break. Not saying that they weren't good, but we became lax in our practice and it showed the first half," Mathews said. "We had to pick it up in the second half to really show who we are."
Young scored on a 3-yard run with 2:36 left in the first quarter. Victor Scott broke free for a 47-yard run on the drive, setting up the Roos offense at the University 13. Gaskamp then rumbled for 11 yards to get the first-and-goal at the Trojans 3.
Antwon Nichols returned Gaskamp's fourth interception this season 66 yards for a University touchdown, tying the game at 7 with 8:59 left in the first half.
University took its 13-7 lead on Haven's 23-yard touchdown pass to Green with 5:17 left in the first half.
Young stretched the Roos' halftime lead to 21-13 with a 1-yard run on the opening drive of the second, set up by a pooch kick recovered by Killeen at the University 48.
Young sprinted 67 yards for his third touchdown of the game with 8:10 left in the fourth. Devyn Williams tackled University kick returner Jordan Randolph in the endzone for a safety on the ensuing kickoff stretching Killeen's lead to 30-19.
The Roos defense, consistently frustrating throughout, then came up with a pair of consecutive fourth-down stops inside the University 25-yard line that set up Williams' 2-yard touchdown and Devarri McCray's 13-yard scoring run all in the final three minutes.
Contact Kevin Posival at email@example.com or (254) 501-7562.