In each of Gonzales’ losses this year, there has been one quarter which has meant the difference between victory and defeat. The Apaches’ 43-27 home district opener loss on Friday, Oct. 8, to the Giddings Buffaloes was no exception.
While Gonzales (2-4, 0-1 in District 13-4A-2) played Giddings (2-4, 1-0) to a near-draw in the first, third and fourth quarters, the Apaches were outscored 21-6 in the second period by the visiting Buffaloes, who used some big plays from quarterback Holden Jatzlau and running back Georges Awad to build a 17-point halftime lead at 29-12 that held up the rest of the game.
Giddings struck first on their second possession of the first quarter. Awad scored on a 37-yard touchdown run and Giddings converted a two-pointer to make it 8-0 with 6:16 left in the first quarter.
Gonzales would settle down into a rhythm on their next possession. Quarterback Jarren Johnson broke off a 25-yard run to help get the Apaches into Giddings territory and completed a 24-yard pass to Derrick Garza which put them in scoring position. Then, Cesar Matamoras finished off the drive with a seven-yard TD run with 4:45 left in the first quarter. The two-point conversion pass attempt was no good and the Apaches were also hit with a sideline warning that had Coach Mike Waldie giving the referees an earful.
The first quarter would end with the score 8-6, but Giddings would light up the scoreboard just seconds into the second quarter as Jatzlau connected with Cade Patschke on a 15-yard TD pass with 11:54 to play in the first half. The Buffaloes added the PAT kick and it was 15-6.
Just three minutes later, Giddings scored again on an Awad run and would add the PAT kick to make it 22-6 with 8:22 left in the half. The Buffaloes were then gifted field position at the Apache three-yard line when Gonzales botched a punt snap and Giddings recovered the ball with 6:24 left in the half.
A penalty against the Buffaloes moved the ball back five yards, but on the next play, Jatzlau scored on an eight-yard keeper and the PAT made it 29-6 with 6:10 to play in the second quarter.
Gonzales found a spark late in the first half as Johnson connected on passes to Braden Barfield, Josh Esparza and Carson Gaytan. Johnson then found the end zone on a one-yard keeper with 29 seconds left in the half. The Apaches went for two with a trick-play attempt as Johnson turned receiver, but the ball landed just out of his diving reach and the score at the half was 29-12.
The Apaches cut the lead in the third quarter when Garza burst through a hole up the middle and outraced everyone 32 yards for a TD run with 5:02 left in the third quarter. A PAT kick by Jonathan Tejeda made it 29-19, but it was the closest Gonzales would get to Giddings the rest of the night.
Jatzlau scored his second rushing TD of the night with 3:39 left to play in the third quarter, this one from 54 yards out on a keeper where he broke and evaded several tackles. The PAT was good, making it 36-19.
Johnson was removed from the game at some point and junior backup quarterback Tyrann Webb had to finish out the game for Gonzales.
Then, with 3:46 left in the game, Jatzlau would score his third and final rushing TD of the night and the PAT made the score 43-19.
Gonzales would get one final TD in the final minute when Webb connected with T.J. Riojas on an 18-yard TD pass. Barfield, who also had an interception earlier in the game to bring his season total to six, would score the two-point conversion on a throw from Webb to make the final score 43-27.
Jatzlau and Awad each had over 100 yards rushing for the Buffaloes, who also had 87 yards passing the ball and a total of 285 yards of offense.
For the Apaches, Johnson was 8-of-13 passing the ball for 100 yards, while Webb was 4-of-11 fo 35 yards and the TD. Johnson had 10 carries for 64 yards and a TD, while Garza had 11 carries for 46 yards and a TD and Webb had five carries for 30 yards. On the ground, the Apaches only gained 147 yards on 28 carries, but still had three TDs. Barfield caught four passes for 46 yards and Esparza caught three passes for 35 yards.
Gonzales will travel this Friday, Oct. 15, to Smithville to play the Tigers, who beat Navasota, 50-28, last week and are now 5-1 and 1-0 in district. Game time is 7:30 p.m.