GEORGETOWN — Gonzales’ football season came to an abrupt end Friday night as the Apaches (6-5) were unable to get in the end zone until midway through the fourth quarter, their lone score of the night, falling to the Mexia Blackcats (6-5) 30-7 in the bi-district round of playoffs.
The Apaches gave up 24 straight points before putting together a 13-play, 75-yard drive, capped off by a James Martinez two-yard touchdown run to cut the lead to 24-7. On the ensuing kickoff, Gonzales tried for an onside kick, but Mexia was able to recover it and return it for a touchdown, giving the Blackcats an insurmountable 30-7 lead with 6:48 remaining in the game.
“We talked about [Mexia’s] athleticism last [week] and it took us just a second to adjust to their athleticism but they got a jump on us,” Gonzales Head Coach Kodi Crane said. “By the time we got our feet back under us, we’re 17 points down. We made a couple bad-timed mistakes — I guess there’s never a good time for a mistake — but a couple mistakes. Against a football team like that, it’s hard to overcome mistakes.”
The Apaches offense had four turnovers, with two turnover-on-downs, an interception and a lost fumble. The special teams mistake in the fourth quarter also contributed to the team’s loss.
Nonetheless Crane praised this team after the game, talking about their intensity every game.
“The thing we try to teach is ignore the scoreboard,” Crane said. “I don’t care if we’re up or down. You play every play the best of your ability and once the final whistle goes, we’ll see. The intensity that those kids played with, the determination, the focus — those guys are Apaches through and through.”
The Apaches will lose 13 seniors to graduation — players who Crane touted as setting yet another standard for the program.
“[I’m going to remember] the joy that I had coming to practice every day,” Crane said. “The reason for that is because of our seniors.”
“We challenged them the first day [of the season] to change the culture of this program. We wanted to make sure we did everything with class. I don’t think there’s any question, you can see class coming off our football team the entire game.”
Crane named all seniors, in no particular order, Corey Anzaldua, Aaron Rocha, Garrett Rickman, Trevion McNeil, Kalub Carrizales, Colby Cox, Levi Hernandez, Nick Ramirez, Ty Oliver, Brandon Carrizales, Bradley Bakken, Clayton Boatright and Juan “Bull” Licea as vital parts to building the foundation that is Apache football.
“How fortunate were we to coach those guys, not just good football players, but good human beings,” Crane said of the group. “They’re fun to be around. Whenever you go in the locker room, they are there just enjoying being around [each other].”
The head coach also looked into the future of the program, talking about the next couple of graduating classes and how they will need to raise the bar even higher.
“Here’s the neat thing,” Crane began, “our seniors in the past since, we’ve been here, have set a standard as well and now these guys have set their standards. Now it’s up to our juniors, who is an outstanding class, our sophomores, who we’re in love with, and our freshmen coming up to reach that standard and go see if they can one up them.”
“This football program is blessed,” Crane concluded. “These guys prayed before every practice. It’s not something we told them to do, it’s something they wanted to do and just to be around them every day has just been a blessing for me.”