It comes as no surprise that the top key for the Gonzales High School football team against the Burnet Bulldogs on Friday, Sept. 4, is to score.
The Apaches (0-1) were blanked by the El Campo Ricebirds (1-0) 35-0 in Apache Stadium on Aug. 28. Gonzales managed just 146 yards in total offense – with 30 coming on its lone pass completion – on the game’s final play.
“That was a good football team,” Apaches head coach Mike Waldie said. “Everything they did, they did it well, they did it fast, and they did it hard. And there were just moments when, point-blank, we were overwhelmed with the speed of the game.”
Burnett, meanwhile, downed Jarrell 46-6 as quarterback Jaxson Denton threw three touchdown passes, running back Marcus Escamilla rushed for 182 yards and three scores, and defensive lineman Braeden Howell scored a touchdown on a fumble recovery.
While Burnet is a talented team with 13 lettermen returning from last year’s 8-3 team, it is a better matchup than El Campo, which fielded three running backs who have attracted the attention of Division 1 college football scouts.
Burnet also runs a defensive scheme that Gonzales is more accustomed to facing.
Waldie said that the team needs to score to start building momentum for both the Burnet game and the season.
Waldie expects to use more players this week. Not including special teams, 16 players carried most of the load playing on both sides of the ball against El Campo. Heat, humidity, and a reduced conditioning window in the offseason took its toll on the players in the second half.
“When you’re down, the last thing you’re thinking about is a backup,” Waldie said. “That is a coaching error. We’ve got to focus on the backups even more. Especially early in the year when you can’t tell how much of a difference you have between a No. 1 and a No. 2 – and even a 1 and a 3.”
Several of the two-way players were sophomores, something Waldie said would be addressed in practice this week.
“The focus is taking the pressure off our sophomores, he said. “We are building depth with some junior and seniors that have to change from role players to impact players.”
Waldie is also working out a better way to keep players hydrated while also complying with COVID-19 safeguards.