The rushing triumvirate of juniors Derrick Garza and Jarren Johnson and senior Cesar Matamoras helped power the Gonzales Apaches to their second win of the season on Friday, Sept. 24 — a 25-14 road victory over the Jarrell Cougars.
The Apaches used their option-based ground game to crank out 302 rushing yards on 53 carries, a 5.7-yard-per-carry average, and three TDs. Garza led all rushers with 111 yards on 18 carries and a touchdown, while Johnson rushed 18 times for 81 yards and a touchdown and Matamoras carried the ball 12 times for 87 yards and a TD as well.
Gonzales never trailed in the game as they closed out non-district play with a 2-3 record going into their bye week.
The Apaches kicked off the ball to start the game and the defense created an opportunity to score early on. Jarrell flubbed a snap on its opening drive, which senior Jacob Bakken recovered at the Cougar 16 to give Gonzales the ball in excellent field position. Unfortunately, the Apache offense did not have as much success moving the ball, so Gonzales settled for a 33-yard Jonathan Tejeda field goal to make it 3-0 with about nine minutes to play in the first quarter.
Jarrell could not get anything going when they got the ball back on their next possession. The same could not be said of Gonzales, however. The Apaches quickly moved the ball down the field, aided by a 50-yard strike from Johnson to Breck Eleby, and capped off their drive with a 25-yard Matamoras touchdown run and Tejeda PAT kick that made it 10-0 with about five minutes left in the first quarter.
The Cougars finally got on board after their talented running back, Derrick Warren, found the end zone with about two minutes to play in the first quarter. A PAT kick cut the Gonzales lead to 10-7.
The Apaches would later up their lead with just over a minute to go in the first half after forcing Jarrell to turn the ball over on downs. Gonzales scored on a 23-yard Garza touchdown run and then Braden Barfield added a two-point conversion run to make it 18-7 with 1:05 to play in the second quarter.
Jarrell got what would be its second and final score of the night on a Warren TD run with just a few ticks left on the clock in the first half. A good PAT would make it 18-14 at the half.
Defense clamped down in the second half for both teams, especially as Barfield ended up picking off two Jarrell passes on the night to bring his season interception total to four in five games. Gonzales would put up seven more points on the scoreboard in the third quarter with a Johnson rushing TD and a Tejeda PAT kick that would make the final margin of 25-14.
Johnson had a quiet night throwing the ball at quarterback, completing just five of seven passes for 83 yards with an interception, but he did hit a 50-yarder to senior Breck Eleby that put the Apaches in scoring position on one of their drives.
On the defensive side of the ball, sophomore Kamren Leal had seven tackles, including three for loss, while Matamoras had seven tackles with one for a loss. Josiah Contreras and Russell Thomas each had a sack. Garza had six tackles for the Apaches as well. Eleby himself defended 20 passes, while Barfield added three passes defended.
The Apaches will return to action on Friday, Oct. 8, at 7:30 p.m. when they host the Giddings Buffaloes in a district tilt at Apache Field. The Buffaloes are 1-4 overall and lost to Navarro, 27-18, last week.