GONZALES — Not even two minutes into the game, Antonio Hernandez scored a goal for the Gonzales Apaches to start what would be a 7-1 blow out against the Pleasanton Eagles on Tuesday at home. The Apaches, who already clinched a district title, finished District 29-4A a perfect 6-0.
In their previous matchup, the Apaches squeaked out a 2-1 victory, though head coach Greg Ramirez explained the team wasn’t at full force then.
“We didn’t have a couple of players that start,” Ramirez said. “You need all the motor parts to keep working. When you’re missing a couple of them, you’re not going to have a strong engine.”
Headed into the playoffs, the Apaches have avoided the injury bug.
“Our guys are good, we’ve been working out, they’ve been conditioning, they’ve been keeping healthy, that’s the best part of it,” Ramirez noted. “Right now is when the health bug [would hit].”
The speedy Apaches at full force is a team with high expectations. Their 7-1 win Tuesday showed it.
Four different players scored, with Hernandez, Anthony Veliz and Adrian Rodriguez netting two goals each while Daniel Cruz scored on a late penalty kick to make it seven total goals. The players scored every which way, once on a cross that found the head of Rodriguez, twice on penalty kicks, another time off a bounce back and two inside the box where Veliz and Rodriguez on separate occasions broke through defenders for the easy score.
“Those are the ones that they come out and they’re going to play, they’re going to make the goals for you when they have the opportunity,” Ramirez said of this goal scorers. “We had a couple of missed opportunities, but being anxious does that to you, not being patient.”
Indeed, there were plenty of other opportunities for goals, with chips and headers going a bit high for the Apaches. But overall, Ramirez was pleased with the results of Tuesday’s district finale, including the play of his defense, despite giving up a second-half goal to ruin the clean sheet.
“The defense played amazing,” Ramirez said. “What happened there was you get two mistakes down in the middle and their play was created from there. There’s no stopping that play. They were going to get the goal.”
“Pleasanton is a team where you don’t want to give any room,” he continued. “You can’t slack off. Got to make sure you’re on them constantly.”
The Apaches head to the playoffs the top seed out of district, matching up with Beeville Jones in the bi-district round. The Trojans are a tough, physical team with a lot of big guys.
“Thank god it’s not football,” Ramirez joked. “The thing we’re going to have advantage is our speed and our passing.”
That game won’t be played until the end of next week, though details have not been announced yet.
As for what the Apaches will be doing between now and the playoffs, the team is not expected to play a warmup game as they focus on getting healthier and practicing against each other.
“We’re going to focus on the same thing we’ve been focusing on,” Ramirez said. “It might get boring to the guys, but we’re going to be doing it. Passing, passing, passing. We’ve been doing better at it. You can see that. Our touches are a lot better, we can move the ball without just going long ball the entire time. I’m never going to stop practicing that.”
The Apaches end the regular season 19-1-1, winning all six games in district by outscoring their opponents 31-6.