TEMPLE – Friday night at Wildcat Stadium in Temple, fans were looking to see how the #6 Temple Wildcats would respond after having an unexpected week off following their weather cancellation at Bryan and a 3-0 Harker Heights squad coming to town.
The answered would come early and often as the home team Wildcats raced out to an early 21-0 with less than 6 minutes into the lead en route to a 59-14 thrashing of the visiting Harker Heights Knights.
Temple got three rushing touchdowns from Marques Hatcher and two from Jeff Carr in the first half alone as the Wildcats left no doubt what the out come of Friday nights contest be even before the two schools bands would perform at halftime as the Wildcats rolled to a 56-7 lead at the midway point.
Many Temple fans had not even settled into their seats as the Wildcats struck first. Temple’s Davion Curtis who had a breakout game at Austin Westlake two weeks ago mishandled the opening kickoff at the 3 yard line and picked up the ball just inside the Wildcat endzone. Curtis turned up field picked up some great blocking at the 20 yard line and found some running room. Curtis, the anchor for Temple’s 4X100 relay team which posted the fastest time in the state last year then raced untouched and unchallenged 101 yards down the Temple sideline to put the Wildcats up 7-0 just 12 seconds into the contest.
With special teams making the big play to get things started it was the Wildcat offense and defense turn to match that performance. The defense responded by setting the tone on the night by forcing the Knights into a 4th and 18 on their opening drive with a pair of tackles for a loss and holding the visitors to a total of 176 yards total offense.
The offense racked up 375 yards on the ground and 183 in the air orchestrated by Baylor commit Chad President who was 9-14 passing for 133 yards and 30 yards on the ground. President along with many of the Temple offensive starters would only play in the first half as they were given the night off after halftime.
“I think we beat a good team and it was probably as good a half of football as we’ve played,” said Temple head coach Mike Spradlin.
On Temple’s first offensive possession of the game, Carr, who had 13 carries for 125 yards and two touchdowns went 51 yards to put the Cats up 14-0 with 9:07 left in the first quarter.
The other talented running back Hatcher who had 7 carries for 89 yards struck for his first of three touchdowns with 6:07 remaining in the first going 30 yards and breaking through a pair of tacklers at the 20 and giving Temple a 21-0 lead.
Heights then responded behind Army commit Troy Smith who had already thrown 10 TD’s this year as he scampered in from 12 yards out to pull the Knights within 21-7.
The rest of the half belonged to the Wildcats as Temple outscored Harker Heights 35-0 in the second quarter.
President hit Aaron Freeman on his first of two touchdown receptions on the first play of the quarter to put Temple up 28-7. Freeman had 4 receptions for 79 yards and the second President to Freeman connection came from 25 yards out with 0:59 left before the half.
Hatcher then picked up a pair of touchdowns from 5 and 13 yards out to put Temple up 42-7 with 5:12 left in the second and with the Wildcats facing a fourth down in Knights territory, Tyler Hannon, a receiver hit TE Chris Minter for 39 yards down to the 4-yard line. Carr finished the drive one play later to put Temple up 49-7.
The Temple defense came up with a Quinton Smith interception to set the Wildcat up in good starting field position once again President hit Freeman from 25-yards out to cap the first half scoring and end the night for many of the Temple skilled players.
Temple lone points of the second half came on their opening drive as Cole Martin who was 8-8 on PAT’s hit a 30-yard FG to put Temple up 59-7. Credit had to be given to Martin and the holder Hannon who on several snaps did a great job getting the ball placed for the conversions. martin who also played much of the second half at quarterback put several of his kickoffs in the endzone on this night.
Martin was 2-5 passing with 11 yards and 30 yards on the ground in the second half. Reserve running backs Carlos Borbon had 87 yards on 11 carries and De’Vonte Nealy was 6-21 yards.
Chris Minter had a pair of receptions for 79 yards, Hannon 3-32 and Keion Seastrunk 2-11.
Temple (2-1) on the season will begin 17-5A play next Friday at Waco ISD Stadium against the University Trojans (0-4) who fell to Burnet 51-21.