Kadarius Marshall scored three touchdowns — one on defense — and ended Ellison’s final drive to help the Killeen Kangaroos beat cross-town rival Ellison 27-20 on Friday at Leo Buckley Stadium.
Marshall had two rushing touchdowns and returned a fumble 60 yards for a touchdown. It was his second fumble recovery of the night.
Ellison was 15 yards away from tying the score late, but Marshall surged into the backfield and stopped the Eagles on fourth-and-1 with 1:06 remaining.
The Roos (2-3, 1-2) ran out the clock from there to earn their first District 12-6A victory.
“I am just so proud of the way they came out, fought and played,” said Killeen head coach Neil Searcy. “Against a cross-town rival like Ellison, a good football team, I am just proud of the way they played. We needed this win pretty bad and I am glad we got it.”
Eagles quarterback Faleifa Mauga threw for two touchdowns, one from 20 yards and the other from 46.
Marshall opened the scoring in the first minute of the second quarter, an 8-yard run to put the Roos up 7-0.
Killeen defensive lineman Andrew Morales jumped on a Mauga fumble with 6:53 left in the half.
The Roos offense struck the board again with 3:31 left when Marshall found the end zone from 44 yards. Kicker Uriel Gomez missed the point after, leaving the score 13-0.
The Eagles (1-5, 0-3) answered with a long kickoff return from defensive back Damashja Harris, but it was called back on a holding penalty.
Ellison defensive back Jaeshawn Johnson picked off Roos quarterback Ahmad Bailey and the Eagles capitalized with 17 seconds left when Mauga found wide receiver Dantrell Sterling from 20 yards to cut the Roos lead to 13-7.
In the third quarter, with 2:17 left, Roos quarterback Jayden Hill called his own number from 7 yards out, but the 2-point conversion was no good and Killeen led 19-7.
The Eagles answered with a touchdown of their own when Mauga found wide receiver Trejon Spiller from 48 yards out. Kicker David Avalos missed the point after, leaving the score 19-13.
Marshall seemed to come up with a big play whenever the Roos needed one. His fumble return score in the final minute of the third period, and the 2-point conversion pass, increased the Roos lead to 27-13.
“He is a dude, man,” Searcy said. “Every team has one and he is ours, and I am glad he is on our team. He plays big in big moments and that is what you expect out of your big-time players, and he played well tonight.”
With 11:03 remaining, Mauga sneaked in from the 1 to cap the scoring.
All three of Ellison's 12-6A losses — all against its Killeen ISD rivals — have been by seven points or less but the Eagles are suddenly in must-win mode with four games remaining.
The Roos host Copperas Cove next Friday. Ellison travels to 12-6A co-leader Temple.
“We will go to work this week on Cove and we will be ready for them over here,” Searcy said. “Cove will come in and fight hard, like they always do, and we are going to prepare all week long to get another win.”
Harker Heights 1-2
Copperas Cove 0-3
- Bryan 34, Belton 33
- Killeen 27, Ellison 20
- Shoemaker 41, Copperas Cove 17
- Temple 38, Harker Heights 36 (Thurs.)