KILLEEN — When you push them, those Waco High Lions can strike in the passing game, too.
After seeing a two-touchdown advantage in the second half whittled away, Waco High came up with the biggest play of the game. Jaylen Harris connected with a streaking Michael Stimpson on a 53-yard TD pass with 4:52 to go, sending the Lions to a 42-35 victory over Harker Heights on Friday at Leo Buckley Stadium. The win extended the perfect start for Waco High (3-0), which had to sweat out a wild comeback from the Knights (2-1).
Waco High led 35-21 in the third quarter before Harker Heights’ Jaquan Tillis and Jameel Hodges broke free for a pair of touchdown runs to tie the game with 10 minutes to go.
But Harris and company had one final answer.
Terrance Hamilton broke off sweet TD runs of 19 and 8 yards in a back-and-forth first half. Harker Heights, behind the running of Hodges, was able to keep pace, and the game was tied at 21 at intermission.
But the Lions started to gain some separation after the break, and they wasted no time getting it done. On the first play from scrimmage in the third quarter, Randy Carpenter swooped 48 yards through the teeth of the Harker Heights defense for the score, pushing Waco High ahead, 28-21.
On the Lions’ next possession, Hamilton showed he can not only dodge tacklers, but run over them, as he bulldozed his way to a 14-yard TD run that gave Waco High a two-touchdown edge.
Knights QB Jaquan Tillis scored on a keeper with 2:03 left in the third to bring his team back to within 35-28.
Waco High will meet Midway in a battle of unbeatens next week.
Mexia 36, Groesbeck 8
MEXIA — After losing in the Battle of the River last year, the water is flowing the Blackcats’ way again.
In the 79th football meeting between the two longtime rivals, Jadrian Smith ran for four touchdowns to push Mexia over the visiting Goats. Just like last year, the team that came into the game at 0-2 was the victor over the team that started at 2-0.
The win also extended a long home winning streak by Mexia, which hasn’t lost to Groesbeck on its home turf since 1986.
Smith was a major reason why. He had TD runs of 35 and 18 yards in the first half as the Blackcats (1-2) opened up a 15-8 lead at the break, then kept up his strong running after the break with two more touchdowns, from 5 and 3 yards out.
Groesbeck (2-1) actually struck first, sacking Mexia’s Travion Clark in the end zone in the first quarter for a safety and a 2-0 lead. The Goats later led again at 8-7 on Ty Hale’s 14-yard connection with Landen Frazier, but the Mexia defense buckled down thereafter. They harassed Hale often, and essentially clinched the win with a strip sack in the fourth quarter.
Gatesville 49, University 20
GATESVILLE — Seven different Hornets scored as Gatesville remained unbeaten with an easy win over the winless Trojans.
Jett Truss threw for 166 yards and TD tosses to Zach Mueller, Tyler Louis, Hunter Dreyer and Derrick Bayer.
University (0-3) showed some big-play flashes, as Jeremiah Stroute had an 85-yard touchdown and Justin Williams had a 54-yard TD catch, but it wasn’t enough to prevent the Trojans’ 39th straight loss.
Franklin 27, Lorena 26
FRANKLIN — Clayton Rostrim broke loose with a 4-yard touchdown run with 26 seconds to play to lift the Lions to a wild win over the Leopards.
For Lorena (0-3), it was a heartbreaker, as the Leopards were seemingly on the verge of their first win of the season after tough losses to state-ranked China Spring and La Vega. Lorena held a 26-14 lead with 5:07 remaining in the game, thanks to a pair of Ben Craig TD catches from Hunter Hudgins, who had four scoring tosses on the night.
But Franklin battled back behind the running of Rostrim, who led all rushers with 141 yards. His final TD run tied the game, then the extra-point was good to clinch the win for the Lions (2-1).
Milano 28, #3 Bremond 21
MILANO — The state’s longest active winning streak is no more.
Bremond, the back-to-back-to-back defending state champions, saw their chance at a 50th straight victory end at the hands of the plucky Milano Eagles.
Bremond will try to get back on the winning track next week at Reicher.
Teague 57, Dublin 7
BELTON — The big stage of Mary Hardin-Baylor’s Crusader Stadium wasn’t too much for Tayvis Coleman and the Lions.
Coleman ran for a game-high 133 yards for Teague (2-1), and the Lions showed a constant ability to move the chains on the ground all night long. They finished with 337 rushing yards on their way to 507 total.
Dublin actually produced some fireworks early in the game, scoring on a 70-yard kickoff return. But that proved to be the only points it would get, as the Teague defense dominated, limiting Dublin to four first downs and minus-8 yards of offense.
Iredell 50, Gordon 0
IREDELL — Morgan Whitfield and Micah Wellborn combined for six touchdowns as the Dragons extinguished Gordon in a mercy-rule blistering.
Wellborn’s third TD, a 15-yard scamper with 5:15 left in the second quarter, clinched the run-rule for Iredell (2-1). He also scored on an 18-yard run and a 25-yard interception return, while Whitfield did his damage around the goal line, with TD runs of 5, 8 and 3 yards.
Mount Calm 0
AQUILLA — Jacob Felan had four carries for 189 yards and three touchdowns, including scoring runs of 72 and 58 yards and Aquilla ran away from Mount Calm on Friday night.
Defense was not to be forgotten, as Stacey Guerrero returned an interception 30 yards for a score. Gary Bee added 15 tackles with a fumble recovery and Zack Winder added a pick. Winder also scored three times on the ground offensively.
Robinson 34, Troy 28 (OT)
TROY — What a way for the Rockets to get on the board with their first win.
Robinson surrendered 21 straight points to Troy to tie the game, but Isaiah Houston did what Isaiah Houston does best. Houston scored on a 10-yard run in overtime to send the Rockets (2-1) to a wild win.
The Rockets held a 21-7 lead at the half and looked in great shape, but Troy (1-2) would not go quietly. Chance Mosely raced 75 yards to paydirt on the Trojans’ second play of the second half, sparking a string of 21 straight unanswered points from the home team.
Troy actually took a 28-21 lead, forcing Robinson to need to score just to force an extra period. And the Rockets did just that, as Mason Cooper hit Noah Richard on a clutch 53-yard TD toss with 1:14 left in regulation.
Reicher 41, Bosqueville 40
Ben Brittain ran for 121 yards and passed for 252 and the Cougars — which trailed much of the game — scored the winning touchdown with 17 seconds to play to thwart the Bulldogs.
Bosqueville (1-2) led much of the way, behind a strong running game which produced 233 yards, before Reicher (3-0) rallied.
Eli Farris had 97 yards receiving for Reicher.