STORY BY: CHACE MURPHY
The Bryan Vikings hope to snap a two-game losing streak as they take on the Harker Heights Knights on Friday in Killeen.
Bryan (4-3, 2-2) has suffered back-to-back losses, dropping consecutive decisions to the A&M Consolidated Tigers and Copperas Cove Bulldawgs by a combined 83-35.
Harker Heights (4-3, 2-2) looks similar to Bryan on paper, but comes into Friday’s game at a more statistical disadvantage.
The Knights and Vikings share district wins over Shoemaker and Ellison. Harker Heights, however, has two losses to Temple and Belton. Bryan has played neither in losing to the two undefeated teams in 12-AAAAA, A&M Consolidated and Copperas Cove.
Vikings head coach Bob Bellard agrees there’s a lot on the line.
“This one has to be ‘must win,’” Bellard said.
Perhaps more pressing than consecutive losses to the district’s top teams may be the Vikings’ health. Bryan is down six starters on offense and four on defense from the season opener against Clear Springs.
The injuries piled up against Copperas Cove, allowing numerous back-ups to get some playing time on short notice. Bellard hopes the anticipation doesn’t become a negative on Friday night.
“It makes you nervous for this week because we’ve had a lot of guys thinking about getting their first start,” Bellard said.
Offensively, Bryan will be without quarterback Chris Johnson, running back Kevin Jefferson, and tackles Tim Hines and Zach Jones.
On defense, linebackers Tyler Allen and D’Antre Beasley are questionable among the 10 players the Vikings could lose. But Bellard says both will likely play.
Bryan defeated Harker Heights 27-17 in 2010. Friday’s trip is the second this season to Leo Buckley Stadium in Killeen. The Vikings defeated Shoemaker 21-19 on October 1.
Kickoff is at 7:30 with the pregame starting at 7:01 p.m. You can hear the game live on KZNE, Sports Radio 1150, The Zone.