FOOTBALL: Navasota holds off Gonzales, 28-21


From staff reports

Gonzales ran out of time for a chance to catch the Navasota Rattlers as the Apaches lost on the road, 28-21, in a Friday, Oct. 29 district game.

Navasota got on the scoreboard first with about four minutes left in the first quarter when sophomore running back Jamal Thomas rumbled in from a yard out. A successful PAT kick made it 7-0 for the home Rattlers.

Gonzales would get on the board early in the second quarter with a gamble that paid off on fourth and 10. Quarterback Jarren Johnson threw a 45-yard strike to running back Derrick Garza for a TD and the PAT kick by freshman Emiliano Lopez made it 7-7 with a little more than nine minutes left in the first half.

Navasota would own the rest of the second quarter, however. The Rattlers’ senior running back, Ja’Marion Frear, broke loose on a 21-yard TD run with about 8:20 left in the second quarter. The PAT conversion made it 14-7. Just four minutes later, Frear would score for the second time on the night, this time on a 47-yard TD run that gave Navasota a 21-7 lead it would take into the lockerroom for halftime.

Gonzales would cut the lead back to 21-14 with 4:23 left in the third quarter when Garza perfectly read where Hudson Minor intended to throw the ball, stepped up, picked the ball off and scooted down the sideline for a 96-yard interception return for a TD. Lopez’ ensuing PAT was good.

However, the momentum from that play was short-lived for the Apaches because on their next drive, the Rattlers picked up their fourth rushing TD of the night — the second by Thomas, who rumbled 44 yards to give Navasota a 28-14 lead with 3:11 left in the third quarter.

The Apaches did their best to mount the comeback. With 1:28 left in the final period, Johnson connected with Josh Esparza on a three-yard TD pass. Lopez’ PAT closed the gap to 28-21, but Gonzales could not get the ball back and time ran out on the Apaches’ hopes of stealing a win on the road.

Johnson had a big night throwing the ball, connecting on 14 of 23 passes for 211 yards and two scores with no interceptions for a 120.0 QB rating. He was also the top rusher with 38 yards on just nine carries. The rest of the Apache ground game could not get any solid footing as Gonzales gained a total of just 73 yards on 23 carries.

Garza led all receivers with 119 yards on six catches, while Braden Barfield had seven catches for 87 yards. Esparza had the other two catches for eight yards.

On defense, the trio of Mason Navejar, Blake Wright and Russell Thomas all had eight tackles, while Kamren Leal, Garza, Esparza and Kason Tieken each had seven. Thomas had two tackles for loss while the team had eight overall. In addition to Garza’s interception, T.J. Riojas also picked off a pass.

Gonzales (2-7, 0-4 in district) returns home to close out the season this Friday, Nov. 5, against the Cuero Gobblers (8-1, 4-0) for Senior Night. Game time is at 7:30 p.m.