The Gonzales Apaches returned from their bye week last Friday, and they are prepping for their district opener on the road against Caldwell Friday, Oct. 7. District play kicked off for many Texas high school football teams across the state and Apache head coach Joey Rivera and one word comes to mind: urgency, when district play starts.
“So everything that we do has to have a point of urgency from the drills that we're doing, to the reps that we get in practice, because each week is going to be important. Can't take an opponent lightly. Every win has huge importance to our goal of getting to the playoffs.” Rivera said.
The Apaches finished 2-3 in non-district play and Rivera and his team learned a lot from playing the tough competition they’ve faced. Rivera said his team needs to compete in all four quarters of the game and noticed in the Yoakum film the game was closer than what the score says. Rivera continued by stating that a lot of the games they have lost could have been won.
“I think our team has learned that that we can play with anybody. Like I continue to say we've got to beat ourselves. We've got to limit mistakes, we've got to continue to go on.” Rivera said. “But I think one thing our team has done, which I hope is evident by the way we play, is we play for four quarters, and play with full effort.”
With a week off, the Apaches had time to have players that were injured and banged up for the last five weeks, and River said that they didn’t lose a single varsity athlete due to grades.
“Very proud of our athletes there. They took care of their business during that off week and for the most part have healed up and we’ve got some key guys back and we should be good to go.” Rivera said.
The Apaches will face the Caldwell Hornets on the road for the district opener in their third meeting between the two teams in five years; Caldwell won in 2016 (21-14), and 2017 (19-14) over Gonzales when both teams were in the same district.
The Apaches offense will take on a good defensive line, Rivera said, and added they’ll line up in “multiple fronts to confuse the offense.” “Defensively Caldwell will do a few different things to play to the strengths of their athletes.” Rivera said.
When it comes to Caldwell’s offense, Rivera said they run a spread offense and like to run the ball and set tight end formations.
“They'll try to lull you to sleep a little bit and then go with the play action and try to hit you over the top.” Rivera said. Rivera is looking forward to snap the two game losing streak against Caldwell and getting back in the field after the off week.
“We're tired of hitting ourselves ready to get after somebody else.” Rivera said.
Rivera listed out the keys to victory for Friday’s game, and that is winning the turnover battle on defensive and sustain good drives in the beginning of the game and heading into halftime.
The Gonzales Apaches kicked off their district opener Friday, Oct. 7.