Eric Shorter can’t be in two places at once but don’t tell that to Temple’s junior defensive end, whose relentless activity almost makes it appear that he can defy the reality.
A year ago, Temple had to replace nine defensive starters. Those vacancies were in part filled in some form by underclassmen, including two freshmen and six sophomores and others who hadn’t seen much, if any, varsity action.
That group weathered the ups and downs — allowing a low of three points and yielding a high of 52 — and everything else in between usually associated with learning the ropes. It then tucked 11 games’ worth of experience into its collective back pocket ahead of this season.
Once again, the Temple Tem-Cats showed they could compete with the top teams in District 12-6A. But once again, the ability to compete did not result in a victory.
A stiff breeze, the temperature down in the low 50s and Temple revved up in midseason form.
Yeah, sounds like fall really has, most definitely arrived.
For the third straight week, the Wildcats defense dropped its yards-allowed average, the offense again got a major boost from junior running back Samari Howard, and Temple used a score-at-will second quarter to pull away from District 12-6A foe Bryan, 44-7, on Friday night.
Whether athletics or academics are involved, Mikal Harrison-Pilot seeks out opportunities to put himself to the test.
In the long run, the most significant takeaway from Temple’s runaway victory over Copperas Cove last Friday probably won’t have anything to do with the impressive season-highs of 55 points and 511 yards, or the stingy, season-low 188 yards allowed.
Instead, the Wildcats could gain the most from the one quarter out of four that wasn’t the most appealing in the midst of an otherwise lopsided 55-21 win in the District 12-6A opener.
COPPERAS COVE — All’s well that ends well, indeed.
The Wildcats had 24 points 10 minutes into Friday night’s clash against Copperas Cove, sputtered some during the next 10 then shut out the host after halftime for a rather convincing 55-21 victory at Bulldawg Stadium, bouncing back from their first defeat by starting District 12-6A 1-0.
Samari Howard’s almost-effortless hurdle of an Arlington Martin defender during the course of a 13-yard pickup might’ve been the second-most appealing part of the junior’s standout performance last week that included a season-high 174 yards rushing, his fourth touchdown of the year and a 2-point pass, to boot.
There’s a difference between employing a short memory to avoid dwelling on past circumstances and learning from those missteps made along the way. After spotting Arlington Martin three touchdowns via special teams last Friday in a 43-25 non-district loss, Temple is subscribing to both methods this week in preparation for its District 12-6A opener at Copperas Cove.
Watching the TCU-Texas game last Saturday with former Temple Wildcats playing a prominent role for both teams brought to mind how uncommon that is.
Temple head coach Scott Stewart almost was at a loss for words. Well, not quite, but two of the terms he did pick out — funky and weird — were telling, especially after the Wildcats’ defense allowed a season-low 286 yards and their offense produced a season-high 392, and yet they trailed by as much as 28 against Arlington Martin on Friday night.
“Looking here, it’s kind of still like, what the heck just happened,” Stewart said.
Carlton Mack and Keon Williams whole heartedly believe that without the Temple Wildcats, their lives would have noticeable, unnatural voids.
The two senior starting cornerbacks, who’ve had key roles in back-to-back second-half shutout performances by Temple’s defense to start the season, are steadfast in their conclusion because they’ve had glimpses into that football-less reality and have persevered through obstacles — one a curveball out of life’s hand and the other mostly self-imposed — with the sole purpose of being part of a program that provides outlets beyond starring under the bright lights.
Traffic jams and cramped quarters aside, the road was pretty good to Temple during the first two weeks of the season.
Victories over Longview in Arlington and at host Magnolia West left the Wildcats with a satisfying 2-0 mark. But after about 280 miles and 5 hours’ worth of bus rides, it’s time to turn on the lights at Wildcat Stadium.