KILLEEN -- Bryan coach Bob Bellard said he would have to look at video to see what the Bryan Vikings did wrong.
He'll have at least one extra week to make things right.
Despite losing four fumbles and never quite finding a way to take control of the game, Bryan beat Harker Heights 14-7 to assure the Vikings of a playoff spot in District 13-5A.
Bryan did not get a takeaway in the game until the final play, when Richard Boone intercepted Ryan Balentine.
In addition to setting themselves up for a bi-district date, the Vikings won their second straight game, a first for this season. The win was also Bryan's first on the road.
"We put ourselves in position to win and we won," Bryan coach Bob Bellard said. "You leave here with that and you're ahead."
Junior running back Monterell Washington had a season-high 30 carries for 135 yards.
The game bore a remarkable resemblance to Bryan's 21-7 win over Belton a week earlier, but the Vikings were unable to punch home as many points.
Bryan (5-4 overall, 3-2 in 13-5A) held Harker Heights to 21 total yards (8 rushing) in the first half. The Knights had more yards in penalties, with four flags for 30 yards.
"From start to finish, the defense was in total control of it," Bellard said. "I thought we covered well and played the run well. We had one slip but that was it. That was what won the football game for us."
Despite that, the Vikings were unable to extend an early 7-0 lead to a two-touchdown advantage until the final 1:08 of the opening half. After Krey Bratsen's punt pinned the Knights at the seven, Colton Carlisle's punt went out of bounds at the Bryan 18.
Bratsen was rewarded for his work with a pair of receptions, catching an out pattern for five yards and then slipping behind the defense before Garrison Kickham lofted a pass that Bratsen caught for a score near the back line of the end zone.
A botched punt early in the game had Bryan take over on downs at the 30. On second down, Tre Odom ran beside tight end Brandon Coleman's block on a 28-yard sweep to his left for a score.
The Vikings had chances to add more scoring, but they stopped themselves. A holding penalty in the second period called back a Washington sweep for a touchdown. Washington was on the sideline when Bryan missed another good chance to score after taking a shot to the thigh on a run to the 3. Sophomore Jayshan Trussell replaced him and fumbled on his only rush into the end zone for a touchback.
"Monterell had a good game," Bellard said. "It's a shame he got tripped up just before we were going in. Our offensive line was coming off the ball and knocking holes in them. I felt like right there we could go in and make a statement."
Very little worked offensively for Harker Heights (1-7, 1-4) until its six-play, 63-yard drive. Balentine got it going with a 35-yard pass to Devin Burns. Balentine, a senior three-year starter at quarterback, then ran an option to his right and made two cuts back to the left for a 34-yard scoring run. Suddenly, the Knights had made a game of it, despite having 14 plays where they lost yardage.
Bryan junior linebacker Curtis Cook, who sliced through the offensive line for an early tackle for loss on a screen play, did it again late, forcing a Harker Heights punt.
• David Campbell's e-mail address is email@example.com.
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