Harker Heights’ streak-killing win over Midway clouds 12-6A race
By TJ MAXWELL
The Harker Heights Knights made history when they knocked off the Midway Panthers 17-14 to halt a 38-game win streak Friday night at Panther Stadium.
The historic win put the Knights in contention for one of those four coveted playoff spots in the jumble of eight teams still in the hunt for the four spots with three weeks remaining.
The Temple Wildcats (5-0) locked in their spot with a 64-38 win over Ellison (2-4) while Shoemaker (4-1) downed Waco 42-31 to edge closer and the Knights (4-2) upset Midway (4-1) to put their hat in the ring.
The Bulldawgs (1-4) still have a slight chance but it would require them winning out against a schedule full of playoff contenders.
Coming off their bye week with two weeks of preparation, the Dawgs will need to knock off the red-hot Knights before hosting 5-2 Shoemaker for senior night and finishing off on the road at the district-leading Temple Wildcats.
The Dawgs would need some help as well as three teams above them Belton (2-3), Ellison (2-4) and Killeen (2-4) own the tiebreakers.
Midway and Shoemaker face off on Friday with the winner moving into that second spot while Belton will host Ellison for homecoming, Temple will host Waco for homecoming and Copperas Cove will travel to Leo Buckley Stadium in Killeen to face the Knights.
A win by the Knights would eliminate the Bulldawgs from contention but a win by Cove, paired with a loss by Belton, would keep the Bulldawgs’ chances alive for one more week.
The Bulldawgs will need to slow down senior running back Andre Gebhardt and senior wide receiver Mikelle Mason. Gebhardt has 832 yards and eight touchdowns on 150 total carries to lead the Knights’ rushing attack while Mason is second in district with 758 yards and six touchdowns on 33 catches.
Junior quarterback Shaun West is 53 for 104 passing for 748 yards, nine touchdowns and two interceptions while sophomore QB Terrance Carter is 32 for 78 for 477 yards and four interceptions.
Senior defensive back Darian Stephens has two interceptions to lead the defense while senior kicker Jamie Vargas leads the team in scoring with 58, including the game-winning field goal over Midway.
The Knights are seventh in district offensively with 327.5 total yards of offense per game and they are second in team defense, giving up just 324 yards per outing.
Copperas Cove senior Micah Cox still holds the district rushing title despite having the week off. He has 1,135 yards and 13 touchdowns on 152 carries. He also leads in kickoff returns with 12 for 441 yards and a touchdown.
Senior Elijah Delacruz is ninth in district rushing with 667 yards and seven TDs on 86 carries. He is also second in kickoff returns with 201 yards and a touchdown on six returns.
Sophomore quarterback Shane Richey is 51 for 101 passing for 544 yards, six TDs and one interception to lead the Dawgs.
Senior Jaylin Smith is first on the team and fourth in district in receptions with 29 for 322 yards and three touchdowns.
Leading the Bulldawgs’ defense is senior linebacker Kendal Parker with 53 total tackles, including 9.5 tackles for losses and two sacks. Senior Nathaniel David follows with 43 total tackles.
The Bulldawgs are sixth in district in team offense with 368 yards per contest and are seventh in team defense with 388.1 total yards against per outing.
Kickoff between the Bulldawgs and Knights is set for 7:30 p.m. Friday at Leo Buckley Stadium.