To say the Gatesville offense rediscovered its rhythm in a 23-13 win against Taylor is an understatement.
The Hornets hardly lit up the scoreboard Friday, but just one week after being shut out in the first half, every Gatesville drive in the first half either ended in points or in Duck territory.
One week after rushing for just 25 yards on 13 carries, Jake Kee returned to 8-3A Offensive Player of the Year form, with 245 yards and two touchdowns on 28 carries.
His 245 rushing yards eclipsed his rushing total for the season coming into Friday, and his 278 total yards was more than Gatesville gained as a team a week earlier against Waco Connally.
Even better, Gatesville improved its play on offense while maintaining its opportunistic play on defense.
One week after Andraque Jones returned a fumble 60 yards for a touchdown, Gatesville recorded three takeaways against Taylor in the form of two fumbles and an interception.
The defense also forced two turnovers on downs in the second half when Taylor was looking to rally.
Jones also managed to find his way into the end zone again, reeling in a team-high six catches for 78 yards and a touchdown.
Badgers continue to be own worst enemy
Brian Emerson knows turnovers cost teams games. He also knows they drain spirits.
During Lampasas’ current three-game losing streak, it has totaled 13 fumbles, losing 10, including four in Friday’s 24-7 loss at Fredericksburg. Just like in each of their previous defeats, the turnovers came back to haunt the Badgers.
The Billies scored points off three of the Badgers’ turnovers, which also included a pair of interceptions by quarterback Logan Irvin. While the blown opportunities prevented Lampasas from having any chance to be competitive, Emerson also believes they sent the Badgers into an emotional tailspin.
“We gave them the football too many times, and on a couple of occasions, we’d get a turnover and then turn it over one play later,” said Emerson, Lampasas’ first-year head coach. “That is tough, and eventually it is going to take a toll on a defense because we get perked up then give it right back to them, and that is deflating.”
While the contest was one-sided, with the Badgers scoring their lone points with a little more than three minutes remaining in the game, Emerson was pleased with his defense’s performance.
The Badgers intercepted a pass and forced three fumbles, recovering all three, but unlike the Billies, Lampasas’ offense did not capitalize until Irvin found Cale Walker for a 20-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter.
Nevertheless, Lampasas trailed by only 14 points at halftime after senior linebacker Knijan Bell-Williams sacked Fredericksburg quarterback Kyle Grona inside Badgers territory to thwart a potential scoring drive with approximately 40 seconds left in the second quarter.
Despite the final score, Emerson thought his defense as a whole played well, but the turnovers were just too much to overcome.
“We had a couple of stops, and they had a couple of missed field goals, and those were big,” Emerson said. “There were times that we thought, ‘Hey, maybe things are starting to turn,’ and then we just couldn’t get it done offensively.
Lometa scores prodigiously, without many passes
The Hornets won before halftime.
Led by Pedro De Luna’s 144 rushing yards and one touchdown, Lometa (4-0) was winning 60-6 over Cherokee (0-4) after 20 minutes of the six-man contest, forcing referees to invoke the 45-point halftime mercy rule.
Lometa ran 15 times for 335 yards, while Hornet quarterback Eric Nichols only threw five passes — for 43 yards and two scores.
Nichols, R.J. Haggard and Ricardo Acevedo combined for four mud-running touchdowns on a misty Friday night at home.
Ball control also factored into the victory. While the Indians gave two of five fumbles to the Hornets, which led to two touchdowns, Nichols recovered Lometa’s only fumble and shoveled the ball to Acevedo for a 4-yard touchdown.
The Hornets have outscored three opponents 212-66 this season. They beat their second scheduled opponent, Lohn, because of forfeit.
- Gatesville (2-2) at Waco La Vega (1-3), 7:30 p.m. Friday: Gatesville will look to sustain its newfound offensive rhythm on the road against La Vega.
- China Spring (4-0) at Lampasas (1-3), 7:30 p.m. Friday: The Badgers must address their turnover problems and find a way to deliver offensively if they are going to keep pace with the Cougars, who are averaging 44.8 points per game.
- Lometa (4-0) at Mullin (3-1), 7:30 p.m. Friday: The Hornets ride four games of positive momentum into Mullin. Lometa lost at home 66-59 to the Bulldogs last year. Mullin lost its first game of the season at home 59-24 last week to Santa Anna.
- Cameron Yoe (3-0) at Salado (0-3), 7:30 p.m. Friday: Coming off a bye, Salado will look for its first win against undefeated and top-ranked Yoe.
- Marlin (1-2) at Florence (1-2), 7:30 p.m. Friday: Florence will look to get back in the win column as both teams had a bye in Week 3.
BY THE NUMBERS
- 4 — Rushing yards Gatesville’s Jake Kee had Friday that exceeded his season total coming into the game.
- 196 — Total yards Lampasas accumulated against Fredericksburg, a season low.
- 89 — Percent of Lometa’s total offense that came on the ground
- in Friday’s win.
Contact Jordan Mason at firstname.lastname@example.org or 254-501-7562
Clay Whittington and Brian Bradley contributed to this report.