Even Gatesville quarterback Cole Edmiston said the Hornets’ defense is overlooked.
District 8-3A’s top-ranked defense played to championship level Friday in the Hornets’ 35-14 win over Brownwood at McKamie Stadium that clinched Gatesville’s first district championship since 2002.
The Hornets (9-0, 4-0 8-3A) limited Brownwood to just 87 yards and zero points in the second half as Edmiston and the Gatesville offense scored 21 straight points to break open a game that was tied at 14 midway through the second quarter.
“I really thought our kids came out in the second half and shut them down,” said Gatesville coach Kyle Cooper. “I thought we did a good job keeping everything in front of us in the secondary and, up front, I thought we tackled well, able to get some pressure on (Brownwood quarterback Chris Keesee) the second half.”
The Lions started their first two possessions of the second half inside the Gatesville 40-yard line but turned the ball over on downs to start the third quarter and were then forced to punt on their second possession of the half. Edmiston threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Jaynes after the Lions failed to convert a fourth-and-5 at the Hornets’ 25-yard line. After the Lions punted — one of just three punts by both teams — Edmiston threw a 46-yard touchdown pass to Matthew Wallace that gave the Hornets their 21-point win.
Brownwood reached the Gatesville 13-yard line on its ensuing drive, looking to mount some kind of rally in the fourth quarter, but the Hornets defense sacked Keesee twice in three plays that set up a fourth-and-22 at the Gatesville 25 and the Hornets held.
“The defense stepped up tremendously,” Edmiston said. “We made some adjustments at halftime and they executed them perfectly. They came out, knew what they had to do and did it. That’s an overlooked component right there, the defense is what made this game.”
By the Numbers
- 28 — Consecutive points Liberty Hill scored against Lampasas after the Badgers took a 7-0 lead with 1:55 remaining in the first quarter.
- 13.975 — Average number of yards per play Salado’s defense surrendered to Lago Vista in Friday’s 55-23 loss. The Eagles allowed 559 yards of offense on 40 plays.
- 18 — Total yards of offense generated by Florence in a 45-0 loss to McGregor. The Buffaloes had only 23 yards passing and had minus-5 yards rushing.
- Cameron Yoe (9-0, 6-0 13-2A, Div. I) at Florence (4-5, 2-4), 7:30 p.m. Friday — Florence is hurting after Kaleb Hardy suffered his second concussion in the last two season — both causing him to miss time. And the timing couldn’t be worse if Hardy is unable to go as the Buffaloes host the undefeated and No. 2 Yoemen.
- McGregor (8-1, 5-1 13-2A, Div. I) at Salado (2-7, 2-4), 7:30 p.m. Friday — What has been a tough season already doesn’t get any easier with second-place McGregor coming to town for the season finale. The Eagles will pit their struggling defense against the Bulldogs’ second-ranked passing attack.
- Gatesville (9-0, 4-0 District 8-3A) at Liberty Hill (6-3, 2-2), 7:30 p.m. Friday — At the beginning of the season, this appeared to have the potential to be for the district championship, but it has not shaped up as originally perceived. The Hornets clinched the district title by beating Brownwood on Friday, meaning the only thing on the line for Gatesville is pride and its first undefeated season since 2000, when the team produced a perfect run to a state championship.
- Burnet (4-5, 2-2 8-3A) at Lampasas (1-8, 0-4), 7:30 p.m. Friday — Lampasas has no shot at reaching the postseason, but the Badgers do have an opportunity to snap a seven-game losing streak, and nothing would be sweeter than to do so against the program’s biggest rival. The teams split their first two encounters since reuniting as district foes, with each team winning on the other’s field.
Contact Kevin Posival at email@example.com or (254) 501-7562
Clay Whittington, Nick Talbot and Alex Byington contributed to this report.