GONZALES — Week after week the Gonzales Apaches have played tough opponents and this week will be no different.
“We scheduled it like that on purpose,” Gonzales Head Coach Kodi Crane said during a post-game interview two weeks ago against Cuero. “Playing these types of teams, absolutely. Whenever we get done, whenever we go look at the film, we will see exactly what we did right and exactly what we did wrong. There will be no lining up wrong and just, I mean you got to be perfect to stop a team like this. [Cuero’s] a great football team.”
The coaching staff already has game film proving that point. Execution matters. Just look at the Hondo game, where “doing the little things,” as Crane explains it, was the difference between being down 14-0 in the first half and outscoring the Owls 24-0 in the second half.
“The little things are important on Friday night, and we see that,” Crane said. “But, for that to be fixed on Friday night, it’s got to be fixed on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday during practice. All practice is, is you’re developing habits and you’re developing good habits or bad habits.
“Everybody wants to win on Friday night but do we want to win on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday when it’s 100 degrees, 100 percent humidity, that’s when you got to want to win.”
On Thursday, the Apaches will take on a Mineral Wells team that plays mostly out of shotgun on offense. Drew Huff (6) is the main quarterback with his senior wide receiver D’ija Kennedy (11) his favorite receiver.
“[Kennedy] is really good, tall, long. The guy can play,” Crane scouted. “He’s a dangerous vertical threat. They try to get him short. They will run the pop, speed sweep with him.”
On the ground, running back Khalil Thompson (22) will take the bulk of the carries. The senior back is short and compact, but runs physical, according to Crane.
The key for the Apaches will be to limit those two playmakers. Mineral Wells doesn’t hide what they do on offense. When they’re in a one-back formation, the team throws 80 percent of the time. When they’re in a two-back, the shift is to 80 percent run.
“They don’t make much bones about it, they’re going to do what they do,” Crane said on the predictability of play calling. “[Those two athletes are] going to get some, without a doubt, but we got to limit it.”
Defensively, the Rams run a five-man front, whether it’s a “true 50” or a “double eagle” which are just where the linemen line up. Either way, the team wants to stop the run and force opposing offenses to pass it and be one-dimensional.
“They’re going to pack it in,” Crane said, “they feel like they got athletes that can go and cover, so that’s what they’re going to do.”
The two linebackers lining up behind the five linemen are seniors Gavin Peña (32) and Ryan Goodwin (34).
“[Peña] is really active,” Crane said. “[Goodwin] is an imposing, big, good-looking kid.”
Kennedy also plays some safety for the Rams defense while Crane also pointed out defensive linemen Zander Adams (65) and Patrick Conrique (52) as players to look out for.
The Apaches offense will need to be more efficient on the passing game while also moving the chains.
“We got to be patient and understand that a four-yard gain is a good play,” Crane said. “Every play is not going to be a touchdown.”
On special teams, Crane touted kicker Marvin Renteria’s ability to “kick it to the moon and back.”
“Anytime they have that big of a leg, they can kick field goals and extra points,” he said. “they run down a lot of speed on their kickoff team, we’re going to have to do a good job, if he doesn’t kick it out of the end zone, of getting on our blocks and maintaining and giving our people a chance to go.”
Kickoff is at the neutral site Waco ISD on Thursday at 7 p.m.