211022-HHHS-KHS

Killeen High's Emory Arthur (5) runs in from the 1-yard line for a touchdown as Lamarrion Cotton (29) blocks a Harker Heights defender at Leo Buckley Stadium on Friday, Oct. 22, 2021.

Some teams are playing in district finales. Others are simply facing finality.

The last week of the regular-season schedule is often accompanied by additional excitement with the standings still in flux.

It is not the case this year.

In District 12-6A, almost everything is sorted out after last week’s contests solidified Temple, Harker Heights, Belton and Bryan as playoff teams, leaving the remaining four teams with nothing but pride to play for. Additionally, all four of District 11-6A’s qualifiers are in place with two of the four bi-district matchups against District 12-6A already set.

Plenty of drama remains, though, especially in the lower classifications.

Hopes of returning to the playoffs for consecutive years are teetering for Gatesville, while Florence has an opportunity to end a three-year absence, and Lampasas looks to avoid its first three-game losing skid since 2018.

And for Lake Belton, the season is already complete after the Broncos defeated San Antonio Davenport 48-34 to finish with an undefeated record.

THURSDAY

Bryan (4-5, 4-2) at Harker Heights (8-1, 5-1): Each team can rise or fall in the final standings, but nothing else can be affected by the outcome as the Knights will face DeSoto to start the playoffs, while the Vikings await either Cedar Hill or Waxahachie.

There is still plenty to play for, though, with Harker Heights running back Re’Shaun Sanford attempting to add to his 2,000-yard season, and Bryan looking to sweep Killeen ISD after an 0-5 start.

FRIDAY

Killeen (2-7, 0-6) at Belton (5-4, 4-2): The Tigers’ playoff date is already set with Belton traveling to No. 4 Duncanville next week, but the program’s first winning record since 2018 hangs in the balance. If the Tigers beat the Kangaroos, who are averaging 20.0 points and allowing 42.0 points during district, they are guaranteed to finish above .500 regardless of what happens in the postseason. If Belton loses, the possibility of a losing overall record remains.

Shoemaker (3-5, 2-4) at Ellison (3-6, 2-4): The Grey Wolves and Eagles each saw their playoff aspirations turn to ash last week, and there is no doubt their seasons are ending, so the tanks should be completely emptied by the time the final buzzer sounds as neither wants a loss looming all offseason. Shoemaker won each of the last two encounters in the series after suffering through a three-game losing streak against the Eagles.

Copperas Cove (1-8, 1-5) at Temple (7-2, 6-0): This is a complete mismatch on paper with the Wildcats averaging 50.5 and allowing 17.3 points during district play, while the Bulldawgs are scoring 23.5 points and giving up 49.3 through the same span. On top of that, Temple can emerge with a second consecutive undefeated district championship and extend its district winning streak to 15 games with a victory. With nothing beyond this game, Copperas Cove must draw motivation from being a spoiler.

Lampasas (4-5, 2-2) at Fredericksburg (6-3, 3-1): Despite entering with consecutive district defeats, the Badgers’ playoff spot is locked up thanks to their head-to-head win against Burnet, but Lampasas could certainly afford to experience some success prior to the postseason. After being trounced 88-42 by No. 1 Austin LBJ, the Badgers turned around and scored a mere 17 points in a home loss to Canyon Lake last week — just the third time they have been held below 20 points in four years.

Salado (6-3, 3-1) at Robinson (2-7, 1-3): The Eagles cruised to victory last week, scoring a whopping 77 points against Jarrell to equal the total points Salado produced during the previous three weeks combined. The Rockets’ defense, however, is stronger than Jarrell’s, but the real issues rely with Robinson’s offense. The Rockets are averaging 19.3 points, scoring more than 20 points just three times this season. Salado posted at least 40 points five times and has been held below 20 points just once.

Gatesville (3-6, 1-3) at Jarrell (3-7, 0-4): The Hornets are tied with Robinson for fourth place in the district standings, but thanks to their head-to-head victory against the Rockets, Gatesville clinches the final spot with a win or a Robinson loss to Salado. And the struggling Cougars provide an excellent opportunity for the Hornets to secure their own fate. Jarrell is on a six-game losing streak and has allowed at least 50 points in every district game, giving up 73 or more three times.

Rogers (6-3, 4-1) at Florence (4-5, 1-4): After losing every game last year and winning just three times during the previous three years, Florence is not mathematically eliminated from playoff contention just yet. By beating Rogers and having Buffalo defeat Riesel, there would be a three- or possibly four-way tie for fourth place between Reisel, Clifton, Buffalo and Florence. Unfortunately, for the Buffaloes, things probably will not go much further for them as they have a 1-2 record against the trio.

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