GONZALES — Donning a black sleeve with the phrase #PlayForPete, injured Trent Wilkerson played two roles Friday night at Apache Field — assistant coach and cheerleader on the sideline. The senior defensive tackle played both roles well, becoming one of many reasons why the team got their first win of the season, a 42-8 rout over Austin Crockett.
The depth at running back has been the early storyline for Gonzales. But the 34-point victory showed that there’s some depth on defense as well, specifically the front seven.
Taking Wilkerson’s place on the defensive line was Vicente Reyna, another senior defensive tackle. Head coach Kodi Crane noted that Reyna will be a big contributor for the defense, despite being placed at a different position last week.
“Vicente is one of those kids last week we moved to a different position,” Crane explained. “He’s a defensive tackle for us and he filled in and he will be playing a lot. He’s a good football player.”
Reyna was a part of the 11-man squad that frustrated the Cougars all night. Austin Crockett punted three times before getting a first down due to an offsides penalty with 8:28 left in the second quarter. Four plays later, the ball was in the Apaches’ possession again. Crockett’s next first down came on a facemask call late in the half. The Cougars netted just 25 yards of offense in the first half.
“It was a dominating game, absolutely,” Crane said of the defense. “I felt like our kids communicated well. I felt like our kids ran to the football well. I think our kids did a lot of good things.”
Meanwhile, the rushing attack prevailed yet again. Sophomore Dillen Ramos got the start at running back, rushing 13 times for 64 yards. James Martinez added 33 yards with two touchdowns. Leading the way was Elijah Holiday who rushed 14 times for 187 yard and three touchdowns. The team finished the night with nearly 350 yards rushing.
“We got a lot of depth,” Crane said of the running back group, “but the details, with everybody, will just make us such a better football team.”
Despite the scoreboard, the team wasn’t anywhere near perfect, according to Crane. Hence the willingness to discuss “the details” that need to be fixed.
“What we told them [in the post-game huddle] is pre-snap and post-snap penalties, those are killers,” he noted. “Those are drive killers. Those are drive helps [for the opposing team]….Those are things we got to get fixed.”
The ability to come away with a 34-point win is one thing. But knowing that there’s room for improvement, especially when the “lovable idiot” that is “Coach Wilkerson” — as Crane affectionally called his senior defensive tackle Friday night — returns to the defensive line? Well that could be a sight to see for Apaches fans.
Gonzales (1-1) hosts Yoakum (1-1) next week for homecoming night at Apache Field. Kickoff is scheduled at 7:30 p.m.