GONZALES — At 2-1 in District 10-4AD2, the Gonzales Apaches are in position to make the playoffs. Though not official, the Apaches are a Columbus loss away from automatically clinching. Columbus (1-6, 1-2) has a win over La Grange (0-7,0-3) but face two tough opponents in Smithville (7-1, 2-1) and Giddings (4-4, 3-0). Apache football fans have already booked a spot in the calendar for their playoffs.
Nonetheless, the Gonzales coaching staff knows that the team hasn’t played their best football quite yet, so Friday night will be yet another opportunity for the team to continue peaking, according to head coach Kodi Crane.
“We want to improve our [district] seed,” Crane admitted. “We want to go into the playoffs with momentum. I tell you this all the time, I don’t think we’ve peaked this football team. This football team has not played its best. We’ve played good, we’ve played great for a half, we’ve played great for a quarter, but we haven’t put a four-quarter, peak football game in. we’re looking forward to doing that, I think our kids are looking forward to doing that. We got the opportunity, we got the ability, now it’s just time to go do it.”
Tonight, the Apaches have a road district test against Caldwell (2-5, 1-2), another team with a misleading record. The Hornets have lost to Madisonville (7-1), Taylor (5-3), Mexia (3-5), Giddings and Smithville.
“They’re a good football team, without question,” Crane said. “They have played a really tough schedule.”
The Hornets are team that are more than capable of finishing out the district season as a runner up.
Caldwell’s success on offense comes from their running game, with #5 Domonique Chambers leading the way for the Hornets.
“[Chambers] plays a little bit all over the place,” Crane scouted. “He’s their running back, he’ll play receiver as well. He’s dynamic, he’s as dynamic of a running back as we’ve seen all year. He’s fast in and out of cuts and can just go.”
Xavier Williams (#11) is another athlete the Apaches defense will be looking for as he’s done well at both receiver and running back.
“He made a couple really long runs last week,” Crane said. “Their first touchdown, he scored it and ran through everybody to get in the end zone. They’re pretty dynamic.”
Will Faust, their senior quarterback, broke his ankle a few weeks ago, so junior wide receiver Trent Stefjka has lined up under center for the Hornets. Although he’s capable of throwing the football, Caldwell has shown a tendency to run instead of pass.
Defensively, the Apaches believe Caldwell will run a “50 double eagle,” with a nose guard, two “three-technique” players and two “five-technique” players, meaning two players will line up between the guard and the tackle on each side of the offensive line and two will line up between the tackle and the tight end on each side of the line.
The Hornets rotate many players on their defensive line, though Crane pointed out #30 Ty Jungman, defensive end, as a playmaker on that line.
In order to find success on offense, the Apaches will need to connect on shots down the field.
“Last week what hurt us was we didn’t connect the shots down the field to Trevion [McNeil],” Crane said.
When they do, like they did against La Grange, Crane noted, they’d be in good shape to win.
“We got to be successful on our vertical passing game,” he continued, “then we got to be able to pound the ball and stay out of long yardage situation, get positive yards running the ball and pop a couple whenever that opportunity comes like Kalub [Carrizales] did.”
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. in Caldwell.