Harker Heights at Shoemaker Football

Harker Heights' Marcus Maple (3) runs down the sideline for a touchdown against Shoemaker on Friday at Leo Buckley Stadium.

Every game is important.

With three weeks remaining in the regular season, the stakes are being raised.

In District 12-6A, Temple can virtually secure another championship by defeating visiting Shoemaker, while Copperas Cove and Killeen fight to remain in postseason contention and Ellison hosts Belton tonight with the winner cracking open a logjam in the middle of the standings.

Elsewhere, Lampasas and Salado collide with state-ranked opponents, Florence attempts to tie its best showing in six years, Gatesville looks to rebound from an 0-2 start to district and Lake Belton continues its push for a perfect season.

Regardless of exactly what is on the line, this week, every game is important.

THURSDAY

Belton (3-4, 2-2) at Ellison (3-4, 2-2)

Along with having identical records, for the season, a mere four points separate the Tigers and Eagles in total points scored, and during district, each has yielded exactly 135 points. Additionally, their offenses are similar with Ellison’s 318.7 yards per game within 20 yards of Belton’s average, while the Tigers allow 315.6 yards compared to the Eagles’ 312.1 yards. On paper, this is the definition of a toss-up.

FRIDAY

Killeen (2-5, 0-4) at Harker Heights (6-1, 3-1)

The Kangaroos’ playoff hopes will be mathematically crushed following another loss, which will be difficult to avoid against the district’s top offense. After last week’s 57-56 overtime victory against

Shoemaker highlighted by junior Re’Shaun Sanford’s 366 rushing yards and four total touchdowns, the Knights are averaging 52.3 points and 509.0 yards. Killeen is allowing 39.0 points per game during district and 309.9 yards on the season.

Shoemaker (3-3, 2-2) at Temple (5-2, 4-0)

The Grey Wolves fell one point short in overtime against Harker Heights’ high-octane offense last week, and now, they must contain the equally explosive Wildcats. Looking for its 13th consecutive district victory,

Temple leads the district in scoring after tallying at least 50 points in its last two games, but Shoemaker has posted 50 points in half its games and possesses the district’s second best overall defense.

Copperas Cove (1-6, 1-3) at Bryan (2-5, 2-2)

Amazingly, after each started with five consecutive losses, neither is completely out of the playoff chase just yet. Both collected critical victories in Week 7, and now, the Vikings are entrenched in a four-way tie for third place in the district standings after two straight victories. The Bulldawgs’ postseason hopes, however, cannot afford another loss with district powerhouses Harker Heights and Temple closing their schedule.

Lampasas (4-3, 2-0) at 4A-D1 No. 1 Austin LBJ (7-0, 2-0)

One year after the Badgers entered this game ranked No. 2 in the state, the roles are reversed. En route to the lofty ranking, the Jaguars escaped with victories in three one-score games before producing their largest margin last week in a 40-14 win at Fredericksburg, but two-time defending district champion Lampasas is finally gaining traction, scoring a combined 142 points in their last three games after a 1-3 start.

Salado (5-2, 2-0) at 4A-D2 No. 5 China Spring (7-0, 2-0)

The Cougars have been especially dominant over the last four games, going undefeated while outscoring opponents 218-24. The Eagles can rival the impressive showing, though. During the same span, Salado is on a 186-19 run and against common opponents – Mexia and Gatesville – the Cougars won by a combined score of 97-17, while the Eagles emerged with a 99-6 advantage. Last year, No. 10 Salado beat sixth-ranked China Spring 28-14.

Gatesville (2-5, 0-2) at Robinson (3-4, 1-1)

The Hornets opened district by facing the field’s elite, and it showed as Gatesville lost to state-ranked China Spring and Salado by a combined score of 83-16. Now, the Hornets must capitalize on their

remaining schedule to reach the playoffs for a second consecutive year and play their first postseason game since 2017. Last year, Gatesville qualified for the playoffs but did not compete due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus.

Austin Liberal Arts & Science Academy (1-6) at Lake Belton (7-0)

The Broncos are two victories away from completing an undefeated season in just their second year as a program after sweeping a two-game series with Katy Jordan last week, when they won 21-17 on the road.

Also in the infancy of its program, the Raptors are struggling, allowing at least 50 points in five games this season, including last week’s 77-0 defeat against San Antonio Davenport – Lake Belton’s final opponent.

Lexington (3-4, 1-2) at Florence (4-3, 1-2)

Top-ranked Franklin cruised to a 73-6 victory against the Buffaloes last week, derailing their opportunity at achieving a five-win season for the first time since 2016. But Florence gets another shot this week against the bipolar Eagles, who have alternated wins and losses all season long. The trend indicates Lexington is due for a victory after falling 43-41 to Rogers in double overtime last week.

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