Two quality offenses collided at Leo Buckley Stadium on Friday night when the Harker Heights Knights took on the Killeen Kangaroos.
The Knights jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter thanks to Killeen turnovers. The Roo defense got a stop on the game's opening possession but muffed the ensuing punt, giving the Knights the ball deep in Roo territory.
The Knights (1-4, 1-2 12-6A) did not waste the opportunity as Andre Gebhardt ran it in from 14 yards.
The following kickoff was also muffed by the Roos (1-4, 1-2) and the Knights recovered. That drive was capped by a 22-yard touchdown catch by senior Mikelle Mason, his first of three touchdowns on the night.
The Knights went up 21-0 before the Roos began to fight back with 14 consecutives point in the second quarter, including a 34-yard run by Kadarius Marshall.
With the score 21-14, the Knights struck on a 74-yard passing touchdown from quarterback Shaun West to Mason once again.
The Roos were able to respond, though, as quarterback James Terry sneaked in from a yard out as time expired in the first half.
Heights led 28-21 at halftime.
In the second half, both defenses stepped up and stopped the bleeding, only allowing 14 combined points.
Heights scored on another long 71-yard touchdown pass to Mason. The Roos scored on a 44-yard run by Marshall.
Heights led 35-28 at the end of three and that became the final.
The Knights defense came up with two big stops late to secure the win.
The first was with around five minutes to go when Heights stopped the Roos on fourth down, and the second was with under two minutes to go when Darian Stephens intercepted a pass from Terry to complete the win.
“It feels good,” Heights coach Jerry Edwards said of the Knights' first victory. “I’m just happy for our kids and our school and our community. You know, you could see the excitement at the end of the game.”
Edwards also talked about West and his four-touchdown performance.
“Shaun has been a backup all year and I tell our kids all the time you’re one snap away from being a starter,” Edwards said. “Shaun has always came to work and has always prepared knowing that any time and moment will be his opportunity.”
Edwards believes his team's first win could build momentum.
“I told our kids we need to get that first win under our belt,” Edwards said. “The first one's the hardest one to get, but once you get that first one you can get the ball rolling a little bit.”
Mason caught three touchdowns.
“I feel great, I feel great, I feel great. Yeah I just feel great,” Mason said.
“It feels good coming out with the win,” Mason said. “We knew Killeen was gonna be a good team and we practiced really hard all week.”
The loss was a setback for the Roos coming off a big win against Copperas Cove.
“My kids are gonna fight tooth and nail until the clock reads triple zeroes and I was proud of the way we fought,” Killeen coach Neil Searcy said.
The Roos will take on Shoemaker next Friday at Leo Buckley Stadium with a 7:30 p.m. kickoff.
The Knights will play Ellison on Thursday at Leo Buckley Stadium with a 7 p.m. kickoff.
12-6A FOOTBALL SCORES
- Shoemaker 42, Belton 23 (Thurs.)
- Ellison 21, Copperas Cove 16
- Harker Heights 35, Killeen 28
- Waco Midway 55, Waco 15
- BYE: Temple
Waco Midway (3-0)
Harker Heights (1-2)
Copperas Cove (0-3)