GONZALES — The turnover chain was passed around multiple times as the Gonzales Apaches defense wreaked havoc against the Beeville Jones Trojans (5-3, 0-2), leading to a 24-13 victory at home.
The Apaches (4-4, 2-0) totaled five sacks, seven tackles for a loss, two interceptions, one safety and one fumble recovery Friday night.
“I promise you after a big win like that it’ll be more fun to try to figure [defensive player of the game],” Gonzales Head Coach Kodi Crane said. “[Vicente Reyna] probably played his best game, he made some big time plays. [Lion Williamson] is a phenomenal football player, Heath [Henke] with two interceptions. Defensively I felt like you’ve been razzing me about third-down defense and they were better tonight.”
Beeville went 0-for-11 on third downs, with Williamson getting the sack for a safety one of those third downs and Henke intercepting the ball on another of the third downs. The Trojans also were 1-of-2 on fourth down, the lone conversion a 13-yard touchdown.
The game took a turn for the worse late in the first quarter when Beeville starting quarterback Seth Gomez went down with an injury. Sophomore William Harper replaced Gomez the rest of the game, changing up the Apaches’ defensive strategies.
“Absolutely [it changed the strategy],” Crane said, “ and I hate that. [Gomez is] a great football player, he’s a phenomenal football player. I love this game but it just breaks my heart for that kid…. [But], yeah it changed our strategy, absolutely, because at the first, [Harper] wasn’t throwing it and then started chunking it deep and he has a good arm too. Coach [Jerry] Bomar is an outstanding football coach, he has a state championship under his belt. [Harper was] prepared.
“The second half, they scored that first series and we changed what we’re doing on defense so we could have somebody over the top on [Dony Givens] #3 because that kid’s a phenomenal football player.”
Givens had big plays in the second half, catching a 66-yard reception to set up a first-and-goal for the Trojans, leading to a 13-yard touchdown from Gomez to Jalen Spicer for Beeville’s first score of the night. Givens early in the third quarter had a 48-yard reception then a 25-yard touchdown grab two plays later to cut the lead to 24-13. But once the Apaches changed up their defense, Givens was limited to that one reception, albeit a big 66-yard play.
Meanwhile on offense, despite a few drive-stopping plays, the Gonzales offensive line again proved to be the difference against a tough Trojan front seven.
“That is an outstanding defensive front,” Crane said of the Trojans. “They made some plays, they did some things that were really good. They were big, strong, fast and physical and they made some good plays. They stopped us here, they stopped us there, but those five offensive linemen just kept banging and kept banging and that is the resiliency that makes our football team beautiful.”
James Martinez scored a 41-yard touchdown run, a three-yard touchdown run and a 50-yard touchdown run.
Now at 2-0 in District 15-4AD1, the Apaches are in the driver’s seat toward a playoff berth. In a five-team district, getting two wins can be more than enough to be in the top four. But just making it to the playoffs isn’t good enough for this team. And even though there was some celebration amongst the fans in the stands, Crane believes he has the right senior leadership in the locker room that will stray the rest of the team away from complacency.
“I think as long as Trent Wilkerson is on this football team, I don’t think there will be much complacency,” Crane said with a smile. “He chewed more butt than I did tonight, because it matters. I single Trent out but there’s so many of them. I can go start listing the seniors…we talked about it, the first time you came in for the preview, our senior leadership and how important it is to these guys. In big games, in big spots, in big situations, that’s what you get. Tough non-district schedule, winning a game, losing a game, getting in battles and having to play the best teams in the state of Texas prepares you for nights in October. And it prepared us for nights in October.”
Gonzales travels to La Vernia (7-0, 1-0) to take on the Bears — who come off a bye — in a battle of district-unbeaten teams. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. next Friday, Oct. 26.