The Gonzales Apaches (8-2) are set to take on the #6 Lampasas Badgers (10-1) for their area round matchup. The Badgers, according to Gonzales head football coach Mike Waldie, will prove to be their toughest test of the season, especially with their talented offense led by junior quarterback Ace Whitehead, an athlete that does it all for the team.
“Quarterback kicks for them, they have a very clean kicking game, so they’re best player is in charge of the ball almost all night,” Waldie said. “He punts, he kicks off, he gets extra points and the quarterback, you don’t see that very often. He’s very good at it too, not just a toe puncher. He’s a legitimate kicker. Anytime you can put that many important factors into your best player’s hands, you have a chance to be a good football team. It all kind of stops and starts with that cat, #2.”
Whitehead has a plethora of weapons to choose from, Waldie noted, with four different wide receivers the Apaches will need to keep an eye on in the passing game. But another aspect of Whitehead’s game is his athleticism and ability to make plays outside the pocket.
“He’s best out of the pocket, he gets the ball out of his hand quickly, but when that breaks down he can throw it on the run, he can run, and I think a major focus that we struggled with last week is we got to have him throw on time,” Waldie said. If he does and we keep the ball in front, then we’re going to at least make them earn everything they do down the field. If we don’t, he’s going to throw it over the top, run on you [and] get big plays.”
The key for the Apaches will be to stick to the plan they set weeks ago when the offense changed their approach.
“We’re not tricking anybody,” Waldie said, “you know it’s going to be some version of running the football and owning the clock. I think from the wishbone to the Power I to the Stack I to the Slot T that we threw out last week, that’s becoming a part of our identity for a reason. We need something to get us over the hump and we have another one this week.”
For the Apaches, the game plan is simple. Control the clock, run the football and protect the football.
“When we’ve done that, we’ve been really successful,” Waldie added.
Other than losing an athlete to a season-ending injury weeks ago, the Apaches are at full go this Friday, so there will be no limitations to how the team will unleash their two-way starters.
“We’re extremely blessed with the health that we’ve had through 12 football games [and scrimmages] this year,” Waldie said. “We hate that we lost anybody, but we’re as healthy as you can get for this time of year.”
Overall, Waldie is looking forward to playing a team with this much talent on the field and with their coaching staff.
“They’re really good, we’re just excited to play that caliber of a team this time of year,” he said. “They’re as good as we played, but what would you expect when you’re in the second round of playoffs in Texas.”
The teams will play Friday, Nov. 22 at The Pfield at Pflugerville. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. The winner advances to the regional round to take on the winner between Needville and Boerne.