Defense prepared for triple-option, veer offense


GONZALES — Gonzales (1-3) heads to Hondo this Friday night for their second of a four-week road series to take on the Owls (2-2). Both teams are coming off two-straight losses.

Preparation this week for the Apaches defense has been slightly different in that the team isn’t overly worried about the different looks the Owls may give on offense, versus last week against the Cuero Gobblers.

“[Hondo have] shown five total formations, which is a lot different than last week — we prepared for 36 total [against Cuero],” Gonzales head coach Kodi Crane said. “So of those five, they’ve run one formation one time, so basically it’s four formations that we’re preparing for.”

The Owls have young weapons on the offense to look out for including sophomore quarterback [#5] who has a strong arm and is elusive in the pocket.

“The kid can move very well,” Crane scouted.

Sophomore running back Trey Dickens (22) is another athlete on the offense the Apaches are prepared for.

Fullback Tate Fitzpatrick (25) doesn’t get many carries, but is a threat in the passing game, whether that’s out in the vertical or in the flat.

Speaking of the passing game, though Hondo mainly operates their offense on the ground, running about 70 percent of the time, when they take to the air, the Owls have been known to spread it around, whether it’s to Will Gardenhire (44), Kolten Lentz (10), Jaxon Pimentel (6) or Jayden Gallardo (1).

“A lot of people that they roll in and out,” Crane noted. “All of them seem to be pretty good at what they do. We’re going to have to defend the whole field.”

The biggest concern will be when the Owls get into their triple-option. Although their offense isn’t necessarily centered around it, Crane and his defense knows how much of a threat that play style can be.

“We all saw what Army did to [Oklahoma] last week, because OU can’t take their option responsibilities,” Crane smiled, “so discipline football has been a focus this week. We’ve done veer drills, just trying to teach our kids their assignment on the option on every single formation.”

Defensively, the Owls run an even, usually four-man front with a “very active defensive line” Crane explained.

The coaching staff believes Gardenhire is their best linebacker, though Carlos Lewis (20) is another defender to look out for while Pimentel is their best secondary player.

“They had problems in the passing game last week, but they get around pretty good,” Crane said.

The Apaches look to take advantage of that by progressing their passing game this week. The team also wants to be more consistent running the football.

“We think there’s opportunities for big plays if we can get passed the second level,” Crane said, “so we’re looking for us to move the ball really well and we want to see a jump in our passing game this week.”

On special teams, the Apaches have noticed on film the Owls send as many people as they can to block punts.

“They come and we worked that really hard [Tuesday] morning, trying to see all the dynamics of that,” Crane noted.

Rarely have the Apaches used their rugby-style punting to their advantage this early in the season. The Owls’ aggressiveness could open up running lanes for punter Adrian Rodriguez.

Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 28 in Hondo.