It is a good thing Gatesville is off this Friday. The Hornets can use the rest.
With quarterback Cole Edmiston carrying the offense, Gatesville rallied from a 14-point deficit in the fourth quarter to survive an intense double-overtime game against former district rival Waco La Vega last week. The Hornets scored 28 points over the final seven minutes of regulation and overtime to upset the Pirates, who entered the contest ranked ninth in Class 3A.
Edmiston was responsible for almost all of Gatesville’s offensive production, accounting for 367 total yards and all but one of the team’s touchdowns in a 49-48 victory.
“(My players) never acted like they were out of it a bit, and I never felt like we were out of it,” Gatesville head coach Kyle Cooper said. “We have a mantra: ‘Hornet fight never dies,’ and they just kept playing and kept fighting.”
Even in the game’s final minutes, the Hornets refused to succumb to fate.
Gatesville pulled within seven points on a touchdown pass from Edmiston to Tyler Jaynes with 3:18 remaining in the fourth quarter before forcing a three-and-out on defense to regain possession with 1:55 to work with. Starting at his own 20-yard line, Edmiston engineered a 10-play scoring drive that included a successful conversion run by the senior on fourth-and-15 and culminated with his game-tying touchdown run to force overtime.
Edmiston was the game’s leading rusher and passer, running for 148 yards and five touchdowns on 20 carries, while completing 20 of 38 passes for 219 yards and a score.
“I don’t think the stats show enough,” Cooper said. “He threw some balls that were drops. I thought he threw the ball as well as he ever has. He was dynamite passing.”
While Edmiston’s offensive eruption kept the Hornets alive, a defensive blast clinched the victory.
Leading by one point following a La Vega touchdown in the second overtime, Gatesville’s defense produced an outcome-altering stop as the Pirates went for the win on a two-point conversion run. La Vega finished with 369 yards on 59 carries for an average of 6.25 yards per carry, but the Pirates’ top rusher, Ayorinde Gibson, who ran for 105 yards and two touchdowns, could not gain three yards when it mattered most.
“I think they have four backs that are as good as any one anybody is going to see,” Cooper said, “but we were able to contain them when it counted.”
Although the win keeps the Hornets’ record untarnished at 5-0 heading into their District 8-3A opener against Lampasas in two weeks, the victory had a special meaning outside of football as well. The game was held in conjunction with the program’s inaugural Big Sting event, which raises funds for cancer research and treatment.
“The kids were all playing in honor or memory of someone who had fought through cancer,” Cooper said. “We had special jerseys made with those people’s names on them, so there was a lot of emotion from that.”
By the Numbers
- 7 — Lampasas drives ending in four plays or fewer due to a punt or turnover. The Badgers lost three fumbles, threw an interception and reached the red zone just once in a 55-14 loss at China Spring.
- 5 — First downs Florence had in its disappointing 28-7 loss to Marlin in the two teams’ District 13-2A Div. 1 opener.
- 3.96 — Average yards per play the beleaguered Salado offense, which has scored just a single touchdown in each of the last three games, managed in a 41-7 loss to No. 2 Cameron Yoe on Friday.
- Marlin (1-3, 1-0 13-2A) at Salado (0-4, 0-1), 7:30 p.m. Friday — The Eagles have continued to struggle in their return to 2A, losing their last three games by an average score of 42-7. A major point of concern has been a tired defense that’s allowed an average of 470.75 yards per game, including 513 yards in Friday’s 41-7 loss to Cameron Yoe. Salado now faces a Marlin offense that racked up a season-best 369 rushing yards in Friday’s 28-7 victory over Florence after managing just 266 through its first three games.
- Troy at Florence, 7 p.m. Friday — Both teams are coming off district losses last week and both in blowout fashion, with Troy losing 34-13 to Lago Vista. Both teams will have to have better offensive performances if they want to claim their first district win of the season.
Contact Clay Whittington at firstname.lastname@example.org
Alex Byington contributed to this report.