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Harker Heights Evening Star
Harker Heights Evening Star

Knights continue undefeated after 38-35 win

Knights continue undefeated after 38-35 win


Evening Star

It wasn’t looking good for the Knights being down 28-7 with 23 seconds left in the first half.

Harker Heights needed a play and Michael Collins was there with a big one to start a rally that eventually lead to the Knights taking a 38-35 victory over visiting Round Rock McNeil in the last seconds of the game.

“We were hanging our heads a little,” said Collins. “I knew some body had to start making some plays.”

The ball didn’t seem to be bouncing in the Knights’ favor after a botched fake punt and a on-side kick that lead to three unanswered touchdowns by the Mavericks with less than a minute to go in the first half.

But that’s when Collins took his chance with a 76-yard touchdown return to begin a 17-point rally

“It gave us what we needed, a break,” said Harker Heights head coach Jerry Edwards. “We got some energy going into the second half and allowed us to come out and dominate the ball in the second half.”

The Mavericks’ (1-1) junior quarterback Zane Kempfer opened the night with 12-yard touchdown pass to Elliot Holmes.

Harker Heights’ (2-0) Jameel Hodges answered by punching it into the end zone from four yards out after quarterback Marcel Ramirez bounced a run out the home-sideline for 32 yards to put the ball inside the 10-yardline for the Knights.

Kempfer then lead his team to 21-unanswered points.

McNeil took back-to-back drives to the house, the first from deep in their own territory capped by another 12-yard pass touchdown to Jordan Kerley and a Knights fake punt gone wrong put the Mavericks good field position for a one-yard QB sneak by Kempfer, McNeil’s onside kick resulted in another touchdown pass to Kerley, this time from 18-yards out with lest than a minute left in the first half.

That’s when Collier started the rally.

“When I caught the ball, I saw no one around and just took off,” Collins said. “My teammates must’ve gotten some blocks because when I got to the middle of the field there was no one around.”

Heights’ kicker Seth Bodolus capped the second half’s opening drive with 22-yard field goal. Knights’ defense then forced a three-and-out and on the next play, it was Collier again bouncing it outside the numbers for a 70-yard rushing score to finish the night with 97 yards in four carries and cut it down to a one score game at 28-24.

Air was sucked out of the home side of Leo Buckley Stadium when McNeil’s running back Leo Dugue punched it in from two yards out, but was brought to life again when Jaquan Tillis answered with a two-yard touchdown of his own, diving over his front line to do it.

After a Mavericks’ forced punt, Ramirez had a couple of 38-yard passes to get into the red zone and then took it in himself for a one-yard dive between the hashes with only 28 seconds left in the game.

“We haven’t played a whole game yet,” Edwards said. “We played the first half against Elgin and the second half against McNeil, now we have just to play both halves of the game.”

Harker Heights will try to play that first “full game” against Waco.

The Lions (2-0) run a 3-4 defense and already have five interceptions this season. Knights have 197 yards passing 557 yards rushing, 224 of those from Hodges who is second in rushing in the district with three touchdown.

Waco’s offense has 457 rushing yards and 97 passing yards so far this year with a total of 13 touchdowns under the leadership of quarterback Jaylen Harris with the ground game split up between multiple rushers, like Heights as well, but most will likely come from Terrance Hamilton.

“They’re mostly in the gun, but they go multiple formations on offense,” said Edwards. “Waco’s defensive lineman are big and physical and the secondary and linebackers can swarm to the ball, so just big physical team on both sides of the ball.”

The Knights will kickoff in Waco tonight at 7:30 p.m.


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