Wednesday, 3/3/2021 | : : UTC-5
Harker Heights Evening Star
Harker Heights Evening Star

Knights overtake Eagles 34-28 last Friday

Knights overtake Eagles 34-28 last Friday


Evening Star

It wasn’t looking good for the Harker Heights football team Friday; scoreless and down by 21 points, the Ellison Eagles had possession of the ball with 10:40 left to play in the game after an Ellison interception in the end zone.

And that’s when it happened.

Knights’ defender Joseph Evans scooped up an Eagles’ fumbled handoff and sprinted 20 yards for a touchdown that began a Harker Heights’ rally that finished with a 12-yard touchdown run by Jameel Hodges in overtime to win the game for the Knights, 34-28.

“It was that big scoop and score that made it 21-7, that play was huge for us,” said Harker Heights head coach Jerry Edwards.

“It was a turning point of the game. Then we went and got another turnover for back-to-back fumbles and that kind of brought a little life to us and we started to believe again.”

After trading punts to open the game, Ellison(4-3, 2-1 District 8-6A)  scored on a 42-yard drive to make it 7-0. Eagles running back Antares Gillespie took two carries for 12 yards and then Tye Hill picked up 23 yards on a run to the 5-yardline where he followed it with a touchdown a few plays later.

Teams traded punts until the second quarter when the Eagles’ Kipshawn Washington made an interception. The Eagles capitalized on the turnover by marching 41-yards in seven plays, spurred by passes from quarterback Tavon Gwynn to Brezzion Spiller. Gwyn’s first pass to Spiller went for 20 yards down the sideline to get into Knights’ territory, and then a slant pass that capped the drive with a catch at the left hash and 13-yardline for a 28-yard touchdown to make it 14-0 at the half.

As the Knights(4-4, 2-2 District 8-6A) continued their offensive struggles in the third quarter, Gwyn would find the end zone himself when he took a quarterback keeper around the end for 29-yards to make it 21-0 with 15 minutes remaining in the game.

And that’s when Harker Heights’ rally took off, spurred by Evans’ defensive touchdown.

“I had to get to get into the end zone. That’s all I was thinking,” said Evans. “The game is never over for anyone on this team until that clock reads zero. As long as there is time on the clock, we’ve got some time to comeback.”

Down 21-7, Knights forced another fumble recovered by Rhomel Dudley for the Harker Heights’ turnover. Hodges found the end zone three plays later on a 31-yard touchdown run down the visitor sideline to make it 21-14 with just over eight minutes left in the game.

Ellison answered in turn with a 52-yard touchdown pass to Spiller again to increase the Eagles’ lead back to 14.

Harker Heights, not giving up, made a fake punt to extend their next drive. Hodges put the ball in Ellison territory with a big run, capped by an Eagles’ facemask. Knights’ quarterback Marcel Ramirez found Jaquan Tillis through the air at the two-yard line where Ramirez took it in himself with the keeper.

After forcing a punt, Harker Heights sent the game into overtime with 30 seconds left in regulation when Ramirez hit tight end Andrew Piper over the middle for a 12-yard touchdown pass to tie the game at 28.

“Piper has been a great kid all year,” said Edwards. “He’s been great all year, been playing offense and defense, a hard-nose football player that knows the game and has turned into a leader on this team, although he is a new kid.”

The Knights took the ball first in overtime. Hodges took the ball on all four handoffs that it took for Haker Heights to reach the end zone, capped with a 12-yard run around the right end for the final score.

“I almost fell,” Hodges said, “But I knew I needed to get it in right then and there to get it over with. My best friend Jaquan Tillis caught the best block of the year for me to go get six.”

The Eagles blocked the extra point on the attempt by Haker Heights that gave some enthusiasm back to the Ellison sideline, but Knights’ Dudley, again, stripped the ball from Ellison after just a few plays into their overtime drive as Thian Pate came up with turnover to end the game.

“They tried to throw a quick hitch,” Dudley said, “He tried to shake me lose, but I came back in and was able to get a hand on it to force the fumble and my man Thian got on it.”

Haker Heights were to play Thursday at home against Copperas Cove Bulldawgs. The ‘Dawgs were beat by Ellison 34-23 in game 2 of district 8-6A play.

“We’ve got to get ready,” said Edwards. “Now it’s a big deal. We’ve thrown ourselves right back into the playoffs’ mix. One more district win might give us a chance at playoffs, but two more for sure gets us in. Our end game is playoffs so were going to keep concentrating on that.

After Copperas Cove, the Knights have will have two weeks to prepare in their final district game against Killeen High School.


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