By Angel Verdejo and Alex Byington
Killeen Daily Herald
Turnovers - especially at inopportune times - plagued Gatesville through a rough start to 2010.
That theme continued in 2011's season opener to the tune of two Cole Edmiston interceptions.
But Edmiston and the Hornets rid themselves of the mistakes - at least for one night - and it paid off big. Gatesville didn't turn the ball over in beating Mexia 31-0 on the road, while the Hornets forced five fumbles and recovered four.
Gatesville was minus-1 after Brownwood.
"We just said we're not going to do that. Our defense created four turnovers and our offense took care of the ball," said Gatesville coach Kyle Cooper.
The Hornet defense even stopped Mexia when the Blackcats weren't losing the football. Mexia punted five times. Meanwhile, Gatesville only fumbled once and recovered the loose ball.
Howard gets the rock and Badgers roll
When the Lampasas slot-T is at its best, fullback Secody Howard will see plenty of touches, hopefully breaking one or two for long gains while the other backs find room on the outside to keep the drives going.
That was the case for the Badgers against Austin Travis.
Lampasas ran 62 times for 336. Of those carries, 28 went to Howard, who led the way with 192 yards. The senior scored twice, including an 89-yarder in the fourth quarter. In all, Lampasas ran 68 offensive plays – the Badgers completed 4-of-6 passes. Travis only managed 44 plays and finished with 169 yards.
"The first two games we've been able to find some balance," said Lampasas coach Joey McQueen. "We try to give them 15 (carries) or so, but if something is working, we're going to keep going to it."
Salado pass defense shredded in 4th quarter
Despite winning the turnover battle and holding Rockdale to less than 100 yards rushing, the Eagles were unable to mount any semblance of a pass defense in a 51-42 loss Friday.
After going score-for-score through the first three quarters, and leading 42-34 after a 2-yard touchdown run by backup quarterback Ryan Simmons 10 seconds into the fourth quarter, Salado couldn't contain the Rockdale passing attack, getting outscored 17-0 over the final 10:45.
Rockdale quarterback Ethan Brinkley amassed 453 yards through the air on 30-of-38 passing and four touchdowns to four different receivers. Key among those being Cody Skubal, who hauled in nine catches for 212 yards.
"In a defensive unit, we just weren't clicking like we were the week before - for whatever reason, kids are kids," said Salado coach Glenn Talbott. "There were miscommunications in the secondary, there were alignment problems a couple times, and they took advantage of it."
For the second week in a row, Florence had a comeback win.
This one, though, did not come down to the wire. After needing a touchdown in the finals seconds to beat Bruceville Eddy in Week 0, the Buffaloes stampeded over Holland, despite trailing at halftime, 18-14.
Florence scored 28 straight points, as quarterback Kaleb Hardy scored three of his four rushing touchdowns in the second half, including a 58-yarder in the third quarter. Hardy finished with 100 yards rushing on only 10 carries.
Florence, known mostly as a passing team, scored all of its touchdowns on the ground as Lupe Acevedo and Troy Afano added touchdown runs.
By the Numbers
0 - Punts attempted by both Salado and Rockdale in a 51-42 loss by the Eagles.
0 - Points Lampasas allowed in its 28-0 win over Austin Travis on Friday, the program's first shutout since 2005. Since that 34-0 win over Austin Johnston, the Badgers have been blanked six times - three times in a winless 2007.
298 - Difference in total yards between Gatesville and Mexia in the Hornets' 31-0 win on Friday. Gatesville limited the Blackcats to 92 yards of offense (49 rushing/43 passing). By comparison, Gatesville ran for 314 yards.
213 - Rushing yards for Florence in its win over Holland.
Salado at Gatesville, Friday at Hornet Stadium - The Hornets are coming off a 31-0 shutout of Mexia as their defense took advantage of five fumbles while the Eagles are reeling after allowing Rockdale to score 17 unanswered in the fourth quarter of a 51-42 shootout loss. Salado, which is still trying to prove it belongs in 3A, fell at home to Gatesville, 51-27, last season.
Lorena at Lampasas, Friday at Badger Field - The Badgers improved to 2-0 on the year and now face a Leopard team that has been all or nothing on the short year. Lorena opened 2011 with a 53-0 win over West, then followed with a 25-0 loss to Grandview on Friday.
Florence at Thorndale, Friday at Bulldog Stadium - For the second straight year, Florence has started 2-0. However, last season the Bulldogs crushed that momentum by defeating the Buffaloes 55-35 behind 566 rushing yards.
Nick Talbot contributed to this report.