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Harker Heights Evening Star
Harker Heights Evening Star

Knights fall 31-10 against Vandergrift last week

Knights fall 31-10 against Vandergrift last week


Allen Fisher


Harker Heights head coach Jerry Edwards hopes his team will learn their mistakes from last week in their District 8-6A opener last night against Belton at home.

The Knights’ dependable ground game was held to a mere 110 yards last Friday night, a third of district-leaders’ usual. Harker Heights still managed to keep it a one-score game until the last quarter when Vandegrift sealed away 31-10 victory in Austin Friday.

“Vandegrift is a really good football team and they play really good assignment football,” Edwards said.

“They just came out and played good, hard, smash-mouth football, and they were just better than us tonight — for sure.”

Vandegrift(2-2) opened the night with an eight-play touchdown drive. After completing several screen passes out toward the sidelines and three rushes for first downs, Vipers’ quarterback Justin Moore found Justin Florence in the back of the endzone for a seven-yard pass.

Viper’s Isaiah Smallwood is swallowed by Jospeh Evans(#5), Dorian Black(#44) and Jalen Maxey (#51) in last week’s game at Vandegrift Austin.

Harker Heights(2-2) responded with a scoring drive on their own opening drive. After Knights receiver Nate Guillen made a 16-yard catch across midfield and Jameel Hodges took the ball into the red zone to the nine-yard line, Seth Bodolus capped the drive with a 25-yard field.

Vipers extended their lead with a field goal of their own. When Knights defense came up with two consecutive stops at the line of scrimmage, Vandegrift’s Alex Stadthaus hammered in a 41-yarder to make it 10-3 going into intermission.

Knights managed 103 yards on 16 carries in the first half, but managed only seven in 15 carries the rest of play.

Not before the Knights would tie up at 10 to begin the third-quarter.

It took only three plays before Harker Heights quarterback Macel Ramirez found Jurgen Kruse through the air out to the 28-yardline down the Knights’ sideline with an over-the-shoulder catch for a 53-yard touchdown.

It was the closest Harker Heights got as things turned bad for Knights on both sides of the ball. Knights’ offense couldn’t make it across midfield the rest of the night while the Vipers averaged 8 yards a gain against the defense.

Harker Heights head coach Jerry Edwards contest a pass-interference call against his defense last Friday against Vandegrift in Austin.

“Once the offense were coming off the field, defense didn’t have a lot of time to rest so we got tired and worn down,” said Knights defensive back Joseph Evans, who had big night with three sacks in the game.

“We have to condition and get ready to play tired and focus a whole game.”

Vandegrift responded to take the lead again after a 70-yard drive down the field was finished off by Vipers’ running back Isaiah Smallwood punching it from the five-yard line.

It was Smallwood again from one yard out to make it two-score game two possessions later at 8:52 left in the game. Smallwood would finish the night with 115 yards rushing alone.

Vandegrift took advantage of excellent starting field position and marked down the final score of night with a 9-yard rush by Brendan Bennett.

Tillis led the Knights in yardage with 90 yards on the ground, a 56-yard run his longest of the night, and 15 yards from two catches. Hodges managed 42 rushing yards in 16 carries.

The low-rushing numbers in the second half were mainly attributed to three big sacs for more than 30-negative yards.

“We’re still have trouble playing a complete football game,” said Edwards.

“We’ve played two playoff-caliber teams the last two weeks to get us ready and now we’ve got to go get ready for district play against Belton.”

Knights faced off against Belton(2-2) in their district opener last night at Shoemaker and will play 7:30p.m. next Friday at Midway, last year’s district champions.


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