GONZALES — The Gonzales Apaches (3-2) finished their non-district season with 34-20 victory over the Uvalde Coyotes (3-2) with stellar play on both sides of the line of scrimmage.
“I thought our offense played outstanding the first half and I thought our defense played outstanding the second half,” Apaches head coach Kodi Crane said. “[Uvalde is] a good football team.”
A Coyotes team that hadn’t given up a lot of sacks, the Apaches were able to put pressure on quarterback Michael Mata, sacking him five times Friday night.
“I think Coach [Craig] Nairn did an outstanding job with mixing our zone stuff and our man schemes,” Crane said. “We had more [interceptions] and more sacks tonight on that guy than he’s had all year long combined.”
Offensively, the Apaches sought out to repeat last year’s success of running the ball. With a committee of Kalub Carrizales, James Martinez, Garrett Rickman, Ja’Corveon Walton and a few touches from Arbreyon Dora and Colby Cox, the Apaches were able to do just that, rushing for over 250 yards including a 53-yard touchdown run by Carrizales.
“Coach [Bruce] McDonald had a really good game plan and I think our kids executed that game plan extremely well,” Crane noted. “He mixed it up and did some different stuff … kept [Uvalde] off balanced.”
The Apaches scored a touchdown in four of the first five possessions in the half before their sixth possession ended with a knee to end the half up 28-14.
Meanwhile, the defense stepped up in the second half as Uvalde’s lone score came on a kickoff return. When asked about second-half adjustments, Crane explained that the only “adjustment” came from just fixing mistakes made in that first half.
“The first half we missed three tackles on that running back, that running back is good, #22 [David Rodriguez], he’s a good football player,” Crane said. “I went and told him I’m sending him a graduation present, because that dude is good. He runs hard. We missed three tackles on him in the first half. We busted, well not a busted coverage, we didn’t get ourselves [to] react well with our underneath coverage a couple times and it took us a little while for our defensive backs to truly understand that quarterback’s arm.”
The defense figured it out, loading up their “turnover trash can” with four interceptions, two picked off by Aaron Rocha, one by Heath Henke and a Hail Mary attempt on the final play of the game by Domingo Davila that was picked off by Heber Cardona.
The Apaches head into the bye week with a 3-2 record and Crane knows his team is immensely better now than they were at the beginning of the season. Picked fifth by prognosticators before the season began, Gonzales now has their eyes set on what they perceive to be an open district for the taking.
Their next game is a home tilt against La Grange (0-4) on Oct. 13.