PFLUGERVILLE -- The Apaches (8-3) could not get things going, dropping to a 35-0 hole at the half, ultimately losing 56-6 to the Lampasas Badgers (11-1) at Pflugerville ISD’s The Pfield Friday night.
“Tip your hat to one of the best teams in the region and the state, they did a heck of a job,” Gonzales head coach Mike Waldie said. “It starts and stops with me, it’s 14-0 mid-second quarter, I felt like we were still in the football game and sometimes the snowball just runs the wrong way, and it just ran the wrong way tonight and before you knew it, we were down 35-0 at the half.”
Waldie’s strategy of making Lampasas earn every yard showed in the first quarter as the Badgers needed multiple first downs to drive down the field and score. Whether it was a seven-play, 75-yard drive that lasted a little less than three minutes of game clock, or a 15-play, 78-yard drive that took out nearly seven minutes of game clock, the Apaches defense longest play given up was a 28-yard touchdown pass from Ace Whitehead to Michael Murray. But in the second quarter, the Badgers took advantage of short fields to put together three straight touchdown-scoring drives to go up 35-0 at the half.
“Let’s just call it what it is, that’s hard to recover from,” Waldie said. “Are they 35 points better than us? No. But sometimes that happens and we just couldn’t do the things that we’ve done all year successfully.
“Not going to lie, that’s frustrating as a coach when you don’t win the line of scrimmage, when you get beat deep when you start having turnovers, all the things that were the successful formula that we had done up until that point,” he added. “You want to tip your hat to a great team but you’re also disappointed that you didn’t coach your best and you didn’t play your best.”
The Apaches only score of the night came on a drive that began midway through the third quarter. On 3rd-and-6, two-way player Diego Diaz de Leon ran 45 yards to Lampasas’ 5-yard line, to set up a 1st-and-goal attempt. After two tries into the end zone, the Apaches finally got in on a quarterback sneak by Heath Henke, to cut the lead to 42-6.
The drive highlighted two-way players that were called upon late in the season to step up.
“We went all in on both sides of the ball,” Waldie said. “You got your starting quarterback, he’s a warrior, Diego’s a warrior, Lion [Williamson] is a warrior, [Arbreyon] Dora’s a warrior, those guys never came off the field. We didn’t rotate much with quite a few others. We had a good plan and it just didn’t work. It’s disappointing as a coach, but it doesn’t change how you love kids and it doesn’t change how proud you are. It’s just disappointing and that’s just being truthful.”
After the loss, players and coaches made it a point to give props to the seniors, with embraces all around.
“This is a group of kids that could have just went the wrong way, do their own thing, fought the moment and kind of did the whole ‘woe is me, coach left, I’m a senior,’ but they didn’t do that, they bought in, they believed, they did what they were asked and they led us to the area finals,” Waldie said, “almost to a district championship, to a season that will be remembered in history, beating Yoakum and Cuero in the same season, making a run here at the district championship and then winning another playoff game. They got a lot to be proud of.”
The Apaches end the season as bi-district champions and District 15-4ADI runner-ups.