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Harker Heights Evening Star
Harker Heights Evening Star

Battle continues tonight against Grey Wolves

Battle continues tonight against Grey Wolves

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ALLEN FISHER

Evening Star

It was an uphill battle all night for the Knights on their visit to state-ranked Midway Friday.

And after a 42-9 loss, an uphill battle is what the Harker Heights team is facing for a District 8-6A playoff spot.

“We just wanted to come out and get better and play hard,” said Harker Height head football coach Jerry Edwards. “Midway’s quarterback is really good, going to Oklahoma, and he showed it tonight. Our kids came out and played hard and that’s what I wanted to see.”

As the Panthers advance to 6-0, 2-0 in district and ranked second in state by Associated Press, Harker Heights stand at a 2-4, 0-2 record in district as they prepare to play tonight at home against Shoemaker.

Panther’s quarterback Tanner Mordecai has committed to playing in Oklahoma next year and put up impressive numbers on the night with 214 passing yards in the first half alone. and scored the first touchdown of the night by taking a quarterback draw off his left tackle for 17 yards to put up the first points of the game on the opening drive.

Jaquan Tillis runs in a one-yard touchdown, Harker Heights’ only of the night, after a catching a 28-yard pass against Midway Friday.

Harker Heights’s running backs Jaquan Tillis and Jameel Hodges were driving the offense downfield after a fourth-down conversion by Tillis and a 32-yard run by Hodges put the ball at the three-yard line, but the Knights were forced to settle for a field goal back three consecutive stops for losses. Seth Bondolus kicked the 27 yarder good for three points.

Mordecai then lead his team to three consecutive touchdown drives, while Knights struggled to cross midfield.

Midway’s C.J. Williams grabbed a 17-yard pass in the back corner of the end zone to make it 14-3.

After an exchange of possessions, Panther’s running back James Fullbright was finally able to work the ground game and scored on a 18-yard carry at the left hash on the third snap of a 71-yard drive.

Midway took only one play on their next drive to find the end zone, it was Williams again for a 65-yard touchdown catch from Mordecai’s pass down the home sideline.

Williams took in his third touchdown pass just before the half in the back corner of the end zone to make the half time score 35-3.

Knights faired no better in the third quarter as Harker Heights offense fumbled on the first play of their second-half opening drive to turn the ball over.

Mordecai found Demarcus Degrate for the 15-yard touchdown pass to capitalize on the turnover to make it 42-3.

Knights finally found the end zone early in the fourth quarter. On a fourth-and-long conversion, Tillis caught a 28-yard pass high in the air from Knights’ quarterback Marcel Ramirez, despite double coverage by the Panthers. Tillis finished the drive with a rushing touchdown off his left tackle after landing just one-yard line outside of the end zone on the pass before.

Hodges never found the end zone but finished with majority of offensive yards for 149 rushing total on the night, 80 of those in the first half of the Knights’ 130 total offensive yards.

Ramirez finished with 78 passing yards, four of those to Tillis for 62 yards.

Harker Heights offensive coordinator Derek Ruthardt talks to his offense on the sidelines at Midway against the Panthers Friday.

“We’ve had trouble finishing some drives so we need to make it our focus in practice,” said Harker Heights offensive coordinator Derek Ruthardt. “We need to make sure everyone is doing the right things on every play, from the blockers coming off and executing to the quarterback and running backs being on the same page. We’re just going to keep working on it.”

Shoemaker will be looking for their first win of the season at 0-7, 0-2 in District 8-6A. Ozias Wright will be running the ball for the Wolves with JaDarius Quareles likely at quarterback. But Shoemaker will be relying mostly on their defense as their offensive yards are last in the district, but the Wolves’ defense is ranked third.

The Knights won last year’s contest 35-10.

“Our defense has to work on stopping this pass,” Edwards said. “We gave up at least four passing touchdowns tonight so we’ve got to figure some thing out there.”

Knights will most certainly have to win at least three of their next four games to contend for a playoff spot.

Harker Heights will host Shoemaker at Leo Buckley Stadium at 7:30p.m. for homecoming.

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