By Justin Boyd
Killeen Daily Herald
HARKER HEIGHTS Harker Heights head football coach Ross Rogers came away from the Knights' annual spring game on Thursday learning at least one thing about his 2005 team they're going to compete.
A couple of first downs picked up in the final minutes of play was just enough to help the White team, composed of first-string offensive players and second-team defenders, squeak out a 35-33 win over the Red team, which featured first-team defenders and second-team offensive players, in an unusually competitive spring football game at Heights.
"You just hope the kids have a smile on their face and enjoy getting after it," Rogers said of the game. "I've always said, if they won't get after their buddies, they won't get after their opponents. If they'll get after it and hit their buddies like they did today, we'll have a chance to be pretty impressive when we come back next fall."
The Red team got off to an impressive start behind the play of quarterback David Kipp.
Using his arm and his legs, Kipp, a sophomore to be, drove the Red team down the field on the game's opening possession and culminated the drive with a 35-yard touchdown pass to receiver Maurice Whitted. Kipp then tacked on the two-point conversion on a quarterback keeper to give the Red team an early 10-0 lead.
"He played real well," Rogers said of Kipp. "He's a good runner and he's pretty accurate on his throwing and he's a good leader. We like him."
Rogers said he expects Kipp to take a lot of snaps for the junior varsity next season.
While Kipp came out firing, Donnie Shorts, the Knights' starting quarterback the past two seasons, got off to a slow start for the White team and thus the team trailed 12-2 at the end of the first quarter.
Shorts, however, got it going in the second quarter as he directed a 10-play, 70-yard scoring drive.
Doing most of their damage on the ground, Shorts and running back Jamaal Brooks drove the White team into the red zone. Shorts then hooked up with Eain Runyon on a 16-yard crossing pattern to help the White team close the halftime gap to 20-18.
The defenses for both squads did most of the scoring in the second half, as points were awarded for defensive stops and turnovers. Brooks, however, tallied the final touchdown of the game with a 13-yard scamper in the fourth.
Secondary play was pivotal for both teams throughout the contest as Walter Hyde and Cordell Lewis each picked off a pass for the Red squad and James Loudon and Marcus Perry had interceptions for the White team.
"What I was proud of with the interceptions was they were tip drills," Rogers said. "The ball slipped through the receivers' hands and they were there to catch it. That was good. I think the defense overall showed some improvement tonight."
Rogers listed Charles Davis, Josh Johnson and Matt Kalisch as standouts for the first-team defense.
The Knights will conclude spring drills next week with the focus to be on special teams and 7-on-7 type drills.
With only 19 lettermen from the 2004 team expected to come back, Rogers said the team will enter the summer with depth as their main focus.
"We've got to continue to evaluate some kids," Rogers said. "We need back-ups. We need depth on the defensive line and at the receiving corp. We've got to have some kids step up and prove they're ready to go."
Two-a-days start on Aug. 7 with the team's first scrimmage set for Aug. 20 against Ellison at Leo Buckley Stadium. The Knights will open the 2005 campaign at Cedar Park on Sept. 1.
Contact Justin Boyd at email@example.com