After scoring just eight points in a season-opening loss, Gatesville appeared to address its offensive problems last week in a 28-22 victory against Waco University.
On Friday, however, the Hornets regressed, as Waco Connally’s defense did not give up a single point to Gatesville in the first half en route to a 44-19 victory.
The Cadets scored 19 unanswered points in the first quarter and led 30-0 at halftime before Hornets quarterback Jeff Speer’s 5-yard touchdown run ended the drought with 6:42 remaining in the third quarter. Connally’s advantage increased to 44-7 in the fourth quarter, Gatesville scored the final 12 points of the game with a 60-yard fumble return for a touchdown by Andraque Jones and Collin Hallgarth’s 14-yard run with 1:13 on the clock.
The Hornets finished the game with 253 total yards, including 88 rushing as senior running back and defending District 8-3A Offensive Player of the Year Jake Kee continues to struggle. He had 13 carries for 25 yards, bringing his total to 241 yards through the first three games of the season.
In loss to China Spring, Eagles again go airborne
Quarterback McLane Carter, voted last week’s KDHpressbox.com Player of the Week, has strung together three solid performances for Salado.
The junior has thrown for 12 touchdowns this year, to five different receivers. And while he threw only for only one score, to Ryan Simmons, in Friday’s 57-28 loss to the Cougars (3-0), Carter put up a season-best 0 interceptions.
Carter has been durable and efficient this year, completing 62 percent of his 122 passes. He’s riding a 107 quarterback rating into the fourth week of the season.
On Friday, he threaded 25 of 41 passes for 270 yards to five receivers, helping Salado (0-3) rack up 19 first downs.
The Eagles’ up-tempo offense has only averaged 3 yards on 84 carries this year, partly as a result of Carter sacks. While Salado tried to activate a ground game with a season-high 38 carries Friday, the Cougars limited the Eagles to 125 yards.
“I think people are starting (to defend) us a little bit differently,” Salado coach Brent Graham said before the game. “(Our offense) is built around the skills and talents our kids have. That’s the way we’re going to continue to play it. The numbers are there to throw it. We’ll take what the defense gives us.
“We feel like we’re going to try to outwork our opponent every day,” Graham said. “Sometimes we do, sometimes we don’t.”
Graham has also been addressing gap-control defense. The Eagles have found themselves in shootouts this year, and their opponents are averaging 59.7 points a game.
Lampasas fumbles away opportunities
Lampasas could not hold on to the ball against Lorena, and another game slipped through the Badgers’ fingers.
The Leopards’ defense limited Lampasas to one score Friday and took advantage of a whopping five fumbles by the Badgers, recovering four, and Lorena easily won 35-6.
Lampasas ran the ball 48 times for 307 yards, but averaged just 9.6 carries between fumbles. Additionally, Badgers quarterback Logan Irvin completed a mere 4 of 13 passes for 32 yards.
The lone bright spot for Lampasas’ offense was a 184-yard outburst by running back Gary Spencer. The senior finished with an 8-yards-per-carry average on 23 rushes, accounting for the Badgers’ lone touchdown on a 47-yard run in the second quarter before Lorena’s defense delivered a second-half shutout.
Lampasas’ defense produced three turnovers, intercepting a pair of Lorena quarterback Harris Coleman’s passes and receiving one of the Leopards’ three fumbles, but the offense struggled to hold on to the ball. The Badgers opened the game by fumbling inside their own 20-yard line on each of their first two possessions.
Florence falls hard at Thorndale
In a scoring reversal from the previous week, the Buffaloes lost 56-2 to the Thorndale Bulldogs on Friday.
A week after dominating Thrall 23-0 in Waxahachie, Florence’s defense could not handle the ground attack of the 25th-ranked 1A-Division 1 team in Texas.
Thorndale (2-1) racked up 30 first downs behind 255 rushing yards and 174 passing yards.
Darius Brooks found the end zone on runs of 5, 8, and 4 yards, while Bulldog quarterback Riley Schaefer ran for a 1-yard touchdown and connected with Colton Austin for 24- and 40-yard scores.
Florence’s offense mustered six first downs and 101 total yards. Parker McNeil completed 11 of 25 passes for 101 yards, and Lendell Freeman ran for 41 yards on 14 carries.
The lone score for the Buffaloes (1-2) came on a third-quarter safety.
Lometa dominates in mercy-rule victory
It was not as easy as last week, but the result was the same.
After earning a forfeit victory last week against Lohn due to the Eagles’ inability to field a team, the Hornets returned to the field for the first time since opening their season with a 72-26 victory over Stephenville Faith.
Despite two weeks without any true on-field competition, Lometa was on point against Temple Centex Homeschool. The Hornets cruised to their second mercy-rule victory of the season, beating the Chargers 80-34 at home.
The game was called when Lometa eclipsed the maximum 45-point differential with three minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.
The Hornets came into the game slightly banged up with two-way starters Kyle Molter (DE/WR) and Anthony Resa (DL/OG) sidelined with relatively minor injuries.
Due in part to the injuries, the teams’ respective head coaches agreed to combine junior varsity and varsity rosters together for the game.
- Taylor (1-2) at Gatesville (1-2), 7:30 p.m. Friday: Neither team has played consistently this season, especially the Ducks, who sandwiched a pair of lopsided losses around a 37-point blowout victory.
- Lampasas (1-2) at Fredericksburg (2-1), 7:30 p.m. Friday: The Billies have been rolling since suffering a season-opening loss to Burnet. In its last two games, Fredericksburg has outscored opponents 91-20.
- Cherokee (0-3) at Lometa (3-0), 7:30 p.m. Friday: The Indians entered the season with high expectations, but nothing has gone according to plan so far, with the team getting shut out twice in its first three games.
- Salado (0-3), idle.
- Florence (1-2), idle.
BY THE NUMBERS
- 10.7 — Average yards per carry by Waco Connally running back Josh Terrell (13-139, 3 TDs) against Gatesville.
- 90 — Points allowed by Lampasas during current two-game losing streak.
- 1 — Combined wins for Lometa’s first three opponents after three games.
- 6:1 — TD-to-interception ratio for Salado quarterback McLane Carter this season.
- 4 — Points that Florence’s defense has scored this year, with safeties against Thrall and Thorndale.