GONZALES — Last week’s results created a logjam at 2-2 for the Gonzales Apaches and three other teams in District 10-4A2. Only two district seeds have been set. Giddings up top as district champion and La Grange down below in sixth. The Apaches, along with Columbus, Smithville and Caldwell can all finish as high as second place and as low as fifth.
There are six possible playoff scenarios for the Gonzales Apaches. Simply put, win and they are in.
But Head Coach Kodi Crane isn’t worried about all the different scenarios, so much as he’s more worried about taking care of business at home.
“We win, we’re in,” Crane noted. “It always comes down to this, Friday night at 7:30 we can control one thing, that’s what happens at Apache Field. We can’t control anything in the state of Texas, or anywhere else in the world. And that’s our job is to control [Apache Field].”
“Taking care of business” for the Apaches will mean knocking off a resurgent Smithville (7-2, 2-2) team that was winless last season.
“It’s the same team, give or take, that we played last year,” Crane said, observing that the team returned 19 starters, 10 on defense and nine on offense.
“They got started and got their legs up under them, got some confidence early and they got rolling,” he said. “They are highly explosive on offense and you can see that on all their scores.”
Sure enough, the Tigers have averaged 44.4 points per game, with their losing outing last week against Columbus, a 29-22 double overtime loss.
“They got some kids that can score from anywhere out.”
Leading the way for the Tigers is running back #20 Nomar Rivera, who currently leads the district in rushing. Not to be ignored, quarterback #2 Zach Kirby is the district’s fourth rusher as well as the second leading passer in the district.
“I feel like people get so concerned with [Rivera] that they forget about the quarterback,” Crane warned. “[Kirby] can go too. He’s made a lot of ‘money’ this year because people just [focus on] the running back. Then they got #22 [V’Odrae Chase] who plays running back and he could get a lot of yards.”
The Apaches defense will have to rely on those three words the coaching staff have “politely asked” their athletes to remember.
“Alignment, assignment, responsibility,” Crane cited. “You got to know where you fit with everything. We have yelled and talked and politely asked about run fits all week long because we cannot give these guys a seam.”
Where Gonzales may be able to take advantage is with their offense, as they take on a Giddings team that has given up 30.5 points per game in district (24.2 if you include the non-district games).
“You got remember, whenever Smithville touches the ball, they can score anywhere on the field,” Crane said. “Their running back’s longest run on the field was 90 yards. If he has a 90-yard run, that means that defense hasn’t been off the field that very long. They score so quickly that they’re going to give up some points on defense.”
Getting down the field won’t be a problem for the Apaches. The focus is finishing drives.
“We’re going to be able to drive the ball,” Crane said, “so we’ve got to do an outstanding job at once we get the drive started, getting in the end zone.”
Smithville has shown both even and odd fronts. The Apaches are prepared for both, though once Smithville chooses their kind of defense, they tend to stick with it.
“They come in with a plan and kind of want to stick to that plan, whatever it is that week,” Crane admitted.
Players to watch out for on defense include 375-pound nose guard Christopher Trevino.
“Moving him out the way is going to be a chore for us,” Crane said.
Other players to watch for include linebacker #44 Jacob Bandera, defensive backs #3 Devonte Chase and #16 Brice Drisdale and defensive tackle #99 Cody Cyr.
“They got some people that can make plays,” Crane warned.
Gonzales controls their own destiny Friday night. A win gets them in the playoffs. If they lose, the Apaches will need Giddings to knock off Columbus to cap off their unbeaten district record.
Although there will be some score watching in the stands, Gonzales is focused on taking care of business on Apache Field and giving their seniors their final home win of their high school career.
Kickoff is set at 7:30 p.m.
For District 10-4A2 seeding scenarios, click here.