TAYLOR — You wouldn’t like Jake Kee when he gets mad.
Despite looking more like Bruce Banner, Kee’s inner Hulk came roaring out in the second half Friday night as Gatesville’s junior tailback broke loose for 125 yards, including a pair of 47-yard touchdown runs, to lead the Hornets over Taylor 35-14 at Taylor Memorial Stadium.
“I wasn’t as mad after I broke that first big one, that’s for sure, and I think that just got the team fired up and our defense stepped up,” Kee said.
Despite entering halftime tied at 14, with Kee held to three carries for negative-2 yards, the Hornets (4-0) came out and stung the Ducks for touchdown drives on their first three offensive series, as Gatesville outgained Taylor 253-97 in the final 24 minutes.
“We were a lot more focused. I think it (upset us) that we were out there tied (at halftime), but we picked it up and did what we should have done (in the first half),” Hornets senior quarterback Cole Edmiston said.
After being victimized by drops in the first half, Edmiston was a perfect 8-for-8 passing in the second half, including hitting receiver Tyler Jaynes on a 30-yard scoring strike
midway through the third to cap an eight-play, 57-yard drive to break the tie. At the same time, the Gatesville defense — which surrendered 4-for-4 on fourth-down conversions — held Taylor to just two first downs until late in the fourth quarter.
“When you do stuff like that, it builds a lot of confidence and everything you’re doing is working,” said Edmiston, who finished 14-of-19 for 273 yards and two touchdowns. “When you do that, you feel like you can do whatever you want, and it’s a good feeling.”
Coming out of the break, after forcing Taylor (1-3) into a three-and-out, the Gatesville offense struck on the Edmiston-to-Jaynes connection and then turned things over to Kee, who busted his first 47-yard touchdown with five seconds left in the third quarter. The run, which put the Hornets ahead 28-14, came on Kee’s first carry after a 21-yard gain was negated by a holding penalty.
“Our fullback, Tariq Miller, just had a good block off that edge and I got to the outside and they couldn’t catch me,” Kee said.
Added Gatesville coach Kyle Cooper: “We just challenged them to be champions and champions get up off the mat and they go again. Win, lose or draw, you go again.”
The Hornets started the game with a bang as Edmiston found tight end Colton Williams on a seam over the middle for an 85-yard touchdown strike on the opening play of the game.
Following a three-and-out for the Ducks, Edmiston broke a 31-yard keeper on the second play from scrimmage but Gatesville didn’t manage another first down for 17 minutes. In the meantime, Taylor put together back-to-back 16- and 12-play scoring drives to take a 14-7 lead on a 9-yard counter by Justin Deary with 4:45 to play in the second quarter.
“Yes, we were a little flat (in the first half), but we told them, part of being a champion is getting up when you get knocked down and playing the next play,” Cooper said. “We made some bad plays, missed some tackles, played uncharacteristic of where we’ve been this year.”