GATESVILLE — It was a sloppy start by Gatesville’s standards, but it did not matter.
After averaging 37.3 points per game through their first four games, the Hornets opened their nondistrict finale slowly, scoring on just two of their six first-half possessions.
The trend, however, did not continue after halftime as Gatesville reached the end zone on four of its final five possessions en route to a 42-20 victory.
Following the game, Hornets quarterback Jett Truss admitted something had to change at halftime, although it was not necessarily with the game plan.
“We didn’t really have to make many adjustments,” the senior said, “because we were stopping ourselves. I took credit for all the bad things that happened in the first half, and I just had to execute better.
“We did that as a team after halftime, and it showed on the scoreboard.”
The Hornets punted twice and had two interceptions in the first 24 minutes before going on to score 28 points in the second half.
Like Truss, who accounted for three touchdowns and 326 total yards of offense, teammate Zach Mueller was not pleased with Gatesville’s start.
“We came out pretty weak,” the junior said. “Our offensive line wasn’t very aggressive, our skill-position players weren’t very aggressive as we needed to be.
“But we were able to finish tonight, and that was a huge step for us.”
Despite the disappointing performance in the onset of the game, it did not take long for Gatesville to take control.
After Robinson failed to convert a fourth-down conversion attempt, the Hornets needed just two snaps to reach the end zone as Truss found Will Carroll for a 29-yard touchdown with 94 seconds elapsing off the clock.
The score held until Rockets senior kicker Adrian Ceballos connected on a 34-yard field goal with 2 minutes, 11 seconds remaining in the opening quarter.
Gatesville (5-0) was forced to punt away the ensuing possession, but the Hornets forced another turnover on downs, setting up a short field for their offense.
And Gatesville capitalized.
The Hornets covered 61 yards in six plays, culminating with Truss’ 7-yard run into the end zone, and Gatesville took the 14-3 advantage into halftime.
Gatesville received the ball to begin the third quarter, but quickly turned it over after losing a fumble on the second snap from scrimmage. Robinson (2-3) transformed the turnover into a field goal, but that was as close as the Rockets got.
The Hornets reached the end zone on their next four drives as Truss scored on a 3-yard run, Mueller added touchdowns measuring 18 and 5 yards, and senior running back T.J. Miller capped off the outburst with a 7-yard touchdown.
Mueller finished with 11 carries for 110 yards and five receptions for 65 yards to complement Truss’ outing.
With the victory, the Hornets enter their bye week with an unblemished record, but Gatesville will take something else into their District 13-4A, Division I opener at Lampasas on Oct. 13 as well.
“We are just super confident right now,” Mueller said. “We just have so many weapons.
“If teams want to load the box, then we’ll throw it, and if they want to spread their linebackers out, then we’ll run it. I just love the versatility this team has.”