Regardless of the situation, Gatesville is always calm under pressure.
Or so it seems.
In the Hornets’ regional win against Monahans on Friday, the Loboes held a 34-21 lead entering the fourth quarter after scoring five touchdowns in seven possessions with the only exception a punt on their first drive of the game and an abbreviated eight-second possession ending with the conclusion of the second quarter.
Monahans’ offense seemed unstoppable, and conversely, Gatesville did not have a single trip into the red zone. The Hornets’ season was in jeopardy of ending with an uncharacteristic performance.
But, just like it had a dozen times before, Gatesville found a way to win.
Senior quarterback Cole Edmiston rediscovered his dazzle, accounting for all but four of the Hornets’ 149 fourth-quarter yards, while throwing a pair of touchdowns to Matthew Wallace to tie the game 34-34 and send it into overtime.
Then senior kicker Sebastian Corrales connected on a 35-yard game-winning field goal.
The victory sends Gatesville into the Class 3A, Division II quarterfinals, where it will play Graham (12-1) on Friday at Stephenville. The Hornets can expect another extremely difficult game after the Steers posted 27 unanswered points, including 20 in the second half, to beat Midland Greenwood 41-23.
From the stands, it might have appeared as if the Hornets were completely composed on the field, but Tyler Jaynes felt as if he was operating amongst chaos.
“I don’t think we’re calm,” Gatesville’s senior receiver/defensive back said. “I think we are really hectic and crazy, but we change our mindset and totally try to make the play. Do whatever it takes to win, that is what we are doing.”
So far, the approach is working.
After tying the score 34-34 with 2:28 remaining, Monahans embarked on a potential game-winning drive, but, along the way, collected three costly penalties, including one for having an illegal man downfield that negated a pass to Loboes playmaker Freddy Garcia, who worked his way inside the Hornets’ 5-yard line before being pushed out of bounds.
In overtime, Gatesville forced Monahans to attempt a field goal from 36 yards, and despite having a clean hold and snap, Alejandro Mendoza’s kick sailed wide left.
Considering each overtime possession begins at the 25-yard line, the Hornets were virtually already within Corrales’ range, and after advancing 8 yards, the senior, who made 10 of 11 field goals entering the game, including a season-best 43-yarder, was sent into the game.
At that moment, a wave of confidence came over Edmiston.
“I had no doubt,” Edmiston, who accounted for 372 total yards and five touchdowns, said. “He makes it all the time in practice. He went out, and he didn’t act nervous. I told him, ‘Let’s go kick it,’ and he said ‘All right, I’ll make it.’ And he made it. He put it right down the middle.”
Corrales was equally confident despite having an extra point attempt blocked during the fourth quarter.
“It is a situation I’ve been in before after last year, when we beat China (Spring),” Corrales said, referring to his 47-yard, game-winning field goal as time expired against the Cougars last season.
“There is a lot of parts to it, and it comes down to the snap being right, the holder holding and the line holding, so thanks to them for doing that and the whole team, who fought throughout the whole thing.”
Jaynes, who is the holder on field goals and extra points, had a different perspective, though.
“(The snap) was a little wobbly, but it was right on the spot,” he said. “Overall it was pretty good. It wasn’t perfect, but we found a way to get it done.”
Contact Clay Whittington at email@example.com