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Harker Heights Evening Star
Harker Heights Evening Star

Knights fall to Dawgs last week 42-27

Knights fall to Dawgs last week 42-27


Evening Star

The Harker Heights football team was looking for another 21-point, second-half comeback against visiting Copperas Cove in Thursday’s game last week at Leo Buckley.

The Knights came close, rallying in the third quarter within a score of 28-20, spurred by a Bulldawgs fumble on their second-half opening drive.

But Bulldawgs’ quarterback Jaylen Smith and receiver Floyd Connell were having too good of a game and sent back-to-back drives into the end zone in the fourth to ice the Knights in a 42-27 ending.

“We fought back in it for awhile, we just couldn’t finish it,” said Harker Heights head coach. “We didn’t come out the first half and play on all cylinders. Defensively we were sluggish and typically hadn’t been that way but a short week, a short turnaround and playing nine games in a row takes its toll and it showed tonight.”

It puts the Bulldawgs (4-4, 2-2 in District 8-6A) back in the fourth-place, playoff spot with the Knights on the outside looking in at fifth in District 8-6A. The Knights (4-5, 2-3 in District 8-6A) will take the week off to prepare for their last district game against Killeen next Friday at Leo Buckley Stadium while hoping Copperas Cove drop their next two games against Killeen and Belton for Harker Heights to meet their season goal of making the playoffs.

“I think we didn’t execute in the first half, and as good of a comeback team that we are, we can’t win like that all the time,” said Knights running back Jameel Hodges, “We’ve go to start strong and finish strong. We didn’t come out strong so finishing strong was kind of tough.”

After both teams exchanged punts on their opening drives, Copperas Cove drew first blood with a six-play, 78-yard drive capped by a 32-yard quarterback keeper around the end by Smith for a touchdown.

Floyd Connell of Coppers Cove catches a touchdown over Harker Heights defenders Nathaniel Fennell and Tracy Goodwin. Connell caught 10 catches for 156 yards and three touchdowns..

Smith found Connell on the first play of the second quarter for a 21-yard touchdown pass into the corner of the end zone that extended the Bulldawgs’ lead 14-0.

Harker Heights responded with a 80-yard, 16-play scoring drive of their own that took up most of the second quarter to make it a 14-7 game. Knights running backs Jaquan Tillis and Hodges combined for fierce rushes up the middle, a 13-yarder from Tillis and 12-yarder by Hodges moved Harker Heights into the redzone where Knights’ quarterback Marcel Ramirez punched it in from five yards out.

Hodges had 97 rushing yards and caught a pass for 35 yards while Tillis ran the team-high with 130 yards, but were still out rushed by Cove’s Shontez Simmons of 134 yards on 16 carries.

The Bulldawgs sandwiched a pair of touchdowns, a 58-yard run by Simmons and 27-yard pass from Smith to Conell, around a Knights’ three-and-out to take a 28-7 lead at halftime.

“I knew a 21-point lead going into halftime wasn’t enough and the kids knew it too,” said Copperas Cove head coach Jack Welch. “That’s what they had last week. They were down 21 points at the end of the third quarter to Ellison and came back to beat them and they got on a roll here tonight. They are a team to be reckoned with.”

Like last week’s comeback against Ellison, Harker Heights’ comeback rally would start with a second-half fumble, this time it was Knights cornerback Devin Barnes to fall on the lost handoff by Smith at Copperas Coves own 11-yard line to start the third quarter.

The turnover instigated 13 unanswered points.

Ramirez capitalized on the turnover with a one-yard rushing touchdown up the middle.

After Knights defense forced a three-and-out of their own, Hodges ran a 3-yard rushing touchdown to cap off a four-play scoring drive at 2:21 in the third quarter to make it a one-score game at 28-20.

On the second play of the fourth quarter however, Bulldawgs’ Smith found Connell once again for their third passing down of the night down the visitor’s sideline for a 20-yard touchdown.

After a failed fourth-down conversion put the Dawgs’ on the Knights’ 36, Copperas Cove took advantage of the short field and finished the drive with a two-yard push up the middle.

The Knights final scoring drive would come late in the fourth quarter taking 66-yards in nine-plays, punctuated by half-yard, quarterback dive by Knights’ Ramirez.

Markel Reo is gang tackled by a pack of Bulldawg defenders, Thursday night at Leo Buckley Stadium. Reo carried the ball twice for four yards and was .500 in passing completing one pass for nine yards.

“They had a lot of time to prepare coming off their bi-week, and it showed. They came out prepared,” said Edwards. “We can just control what we can control so we’re going to use our bi-week and get better for out last game. It’s hard having your bi-week nine weeks into the season, but that’s the way the schedule fell this year.”

The Knights kickoff their last district game against the Killeen Kanagroos (3-5, 1-3 in District 8-6A) at Leo Buckley next Friday at 7:30 p.m.


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