I'm a coach's wife, telling a story the best I know how. It's important and I want to get it right! Jump on the train quick for the Temple Wildcats are gathering steam! Their destination is unknown but their desire is for greatness. Prayerfully join us as God unfolds a new chapter. They've all been good but I won't be surprised if He's saved the best for last!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Temple edges past winless Shoemaker for 21 - 18 road victory!

Temple edges past winless Shoemaker for 21-18 road victory

KILLEEN — The Temple Wildcats would rather win ugly than lose pretty any day of the week, including a lazy Thursday night in front of a sparse crowd at Leo Buckley Stadium.

And against a Killeen Shoemaker program whose Grey Wolves are extremely hungry to break a frustrating losing streak that Temple began three years ago, the Wildcats came up with the goods when they had to.

Johnny Jefferson’s third touchdown run in a brilliant 207-yard performance put Shoemaker up 18-13 with 6 minutes left, and first-year coach Channon Hall’s Grey Wolves — denied by Bryan and Belton in agonizing, back-to-back home defeats — were within striking distance of stopping their skid at 29 games.

But Temple’s Troy Healy recovered a key fumble with 4 minutes remaining, Zach Allen ran for a 19-yard touchdown and fired a 2-point pass to L’adarius Thomas, and Brandon Gamboa made an interception to seal the Wildcats’ white-knuckle 21-18 victory for their third straight District 12-5A win.

―They are this close, and they haven’t given anything to anyone. Channon’s doing a heck of a job,‖ Temple first-year coach Mike Spradlin said of Shoemaker (0-8 overall, 0-5 12-5A).

Highly impressed by the Wolves’ speed and effort, the Wildcats’ boss almost needed to remind himself to commend his own team for prevailing as Temple moved to 4-4 overall and 3-2 in the league — tied for third place — with two regular-season games left.

―I couldn’t be prouder of our guys,‖ said Spradlin, whose squad will move closer to Temple’s first Class 5A state playoff berth since 2008 if it beats winless Killeen Ellison next Thursday at Buckley. ―We were coming off of a very emotional win over Belton last Friday and had the quick turnaround for a Thursday game.

―We took a win we needed to take tonight, and that showed me this team has the maturity to make our mark with what we’re trying to do.‖

Temple junior running back Gaylon Sanders rushed 23 times for 158 yards to surpass the 1,000-yard mark, but Shoemaker’s speedy, sure-tackling defense kept him out of the end zone.

Junior quarterback Allen threw his first two interceptions of the season — Temple also lost two fumbles — and passed for zero yards after halftime. But his well-blocked 19-yard TD dash with 3:20 left made the difference as the Wildcats recorded the one statistic that truly matters — one win.

Shoemaker deserves credit, but we came out flat tonight and took them for granted,‖ said Allen, who ran for 76 yards and threw for 110, including an 8-yard score to tight end Erick Arizmendi in the second quarter. ―Our defense stepped up and played their hearts out, and then we executed (on offense) at the end.‖

Perhaps the best player on the field on this evening, exciting junior Jefferson — who blends speed, power and moves — had mixed emotions after Shoemaker absorbed its 30th consecutive loss.

Asked whether he was encouraged or discouraged, he said, ―We’re really very happy with where we’re at right now. Temple probably thought they were going to come over here and get an easy win. But everyone is seeing that the Grey Wolves are a different team this year, even though we lost another close game.‖

Jefferson, Hall and Shoemaker face co-leader Copperas Cove next week, but they figure to have a prime opportunity to end their losing streak when they battle Ellison in Week 10.

Temple entered Thursday averaging 462 yards total offense per game to Shoemaker’s area-low 180, but the combination of Jefferson’s effectiveness and the Wildcats’ mistakes led to the visitors producing only a 379-307 advantage by night’s end.

―They get there in a hurry on defense. "They’re fast," Spradlin said. "―In the first half we were our own worst enemy and shot ourselves in the foot."

On the first play from scrimmage, Allen’s deep pass on the right side was deflected and intercepted by Alex Saint Louis – Allen’s first pick of the year on his 155th attempt.

Shoemaker drew first blood 4 minutes into the second quarter, when Jefferson followed his 39-yard run to the 4-yard line with an easy 1-yard touchdown and a 6-0 lead.

Temple’s potent spread offense was scoreless until the first half’s final minute. After the Wildcats recovered a Shoemaker fumble at their 34, Allen’s passes of 21 and 24 yards to Sanders drove Temple to the 8. Allen then rolled right and fired a short pass to Arizmendi, who crashed through a defender at the goal line for the tying touchdown with 42 seconds left.

Joseph Pickett kicked the extra point that put the Wildcats up 7-6 going into halftime.

Pickett booted a pair of 30-yard field goals in the third quarter, the latter with 2 seconds left for a 13-12 Temple edge. But in between those kicks Shoemaker took advantage of two 15-yard facemask penalties to drive 80 yards, capped by Jefferson’s 2-yard TD keeper out of the ironically named Wildcat formation.

Jefferson’s quick, tough running plus his 34-yard pass to Zacchary Greening moved the Wolves from their 20 to the 4 before Jefferson coasted in for his third TD, though the 2-point pass failed to leave it an 18-13 Shoemaker lead with 6:16 left.
Sophomore Dominick Thompson’s 23-yard return of the ensuing squib kickoff gave Temple superb field position, and Sanders’ 27-yard burst helped the Wildcats reach the 5. But from the 3 Sanders lost a fumble.

The Wolves returned the favor, with nose guard Healy pouncing on Jefferson’s fumble at Shoemaker’s 17 with 4 minutes left. On third-and-15 from the 19 Allen darted off right tackle and used stellar blocking for the go-ahead touchdown, then he fired a low, accurate pass to Thomas just across the goal line to make it 21-18.

Shoemaker still had a shot, but on third-and-11 at its 24 quarterback Ziere Banner collided with Jefferson and then threw a pass that linebacker Gamboa easily intercepted. A block in the back negated his 24-yard TD return, but Temple simply ran out the clock to secure its too-close-for-comfort victory — and, unfortunately for the game Grey Wolves, Shoemaker’s 30th straight defeat.

By Greg Wille – Temple Daily Telegram

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