Football News & Announcements

October 17: GHS Homecoming
October 31: Senior Night, "Black-Out Night"
FOOTBALL: Hornets Enjoying Open, Not Off Week
With the start of league play just around the corner, Gatesville High is taking advantage of an open week before its next outing. The Hornets are scaling back some during the bye week, which comes at the midway point of the 2014 campaign. "We are easing up on things a little," explained GHS coach Kyle Cooper. "During the week, we will have less time on the field and a lot less on-field contact. We are still getting a lot of necessary things's an open week not an off week." Cooper said the focus this week has been more on fundamentals and getting prepared for La Vega, the Hornets' next opponent in the District 13-4A opener October 10. "We want to have a great understanding of La Vega, both as a team and a staff," he mentioned. The district opener at La Vega a week from Friday will be the first of five 13-4A assignments for GHS, which hopes to snatch one of the league's four playoff berths come November. The district has been showing its muscle through the first weeks of this season. Three teams - Burnet, Robinson and Lampasas - are all 4-1, China Spring 3-2, La Vega 1-4. "It's going to be a dogfight every Friday night," he said. "Honestly, I'm not sure any of the six teams get through unscathed from district play. I think any team can beat the others on any given night." Cooper is hoping the Hornets' early-season schedule in non-district play pays dividends during the next five weeks. That 5-game stretch included losses to No. 5 Stephenville, undefeated West and a strong Waco Connally team. "No doubt playing those caliber of teams early on gets you prepared for the rest of the way," he said. "In the end though, the team with the best focus and execution each week is going to handle the load that awaits them the rest of the regular season."
FOOTBALL: Hornets Rout Salado 42-32 in Final Tune-up
Gatesville closed the non-district portion of its schedule here Friday night, downing winless Salado 42-32 in the final tune-up for upcoming league play. Jeff Speer (19-of-23) threw for 262 yards as the Hornets led 35-6 at halftime and were holding a 30-point advantage after three quarters. GHS flooded the field with a used a lot of reserves during the final half of play. "I was proud of our whole team tonight," said GHS coach Kyle Cooper. "This was our best week of practice this season and I felt we saw the results of all that hard work tonight. All of our kids work very hard, so I thought it was important to get other players some playing time in the second half." Salado took a quick 6-0 lead on its first possession, but it would be the Eagles' only lead of the night. Gatesville scored twice before the opening period expired and found its way to the end zone three times in the next 12 minutes to forge ahead 35-6 at intermission. Both teams scored during the third stanza and GHS held a comfortable 42-12 lead entering the fourth quarter. Speer had scoring runs of one and two yards and passed to Brady Elliott for another 3-yard TD. Kael Byrom had scoring runs covering four and three yards, while Dakota Vernon added a 2-yard TD run. Andrew Wallace snared six passes for 77 yards.
FOOTBALL: Salado Will Visit Here Friday
Gatesville High will close out the non-district portion of its schedule here Friday night, hosting Salado in a 7:30 p.m. kickoff at McKamie Stadium. It will be the fifth and final pre-district test for the Hornets, who are 1-3 after a vigorous schedule the first four weeks. GHS knocked off then-unbeaten Waco Connally (34-20) in Week 3 but has suffered losses to Brownwood (35-0), Stephenville (49-6) and West (20-17). Salado comes into Friday's meeting winless, having lost to Troy (49-7), West (42-7), Rockdale (35-0) and Academy (14-7). "They have made some midseason changes and those changes made them play better last week," said Gatesville head coach Kyle Cooper. "They were more competitive in their loss to Academy." Gatesville is coming off a 20-17 loss at West, which remained unbeaten with a late game-winning scoring drive. NOTES: Friday's bout will be The Big Sting game, with players, coaches and managers honoring family members or other persons that are battling or have survived cancer. All proceeds remain in this community and help those battling the disease....After this week, GHS is open until the District 13-4A opener October 10 at La Vega...Reminder: GHS Homecoming game is October 17 against Lampasas.
FOOTBALL: JV, 9th Team Defeat Salado
Gatesville High sub-varsity teams swept road games at Salado Thursday night. The Hornet JV won 21-18 to notch its third win in five tries, while the 9th Grade Gold squad won 20-8 to raise its season record to 4-1. The 9th Black team lost 34-0 to Temple. Next outings: 9th Black at Belton on October 2, JV and 9th Gold vs. La Vega on October 9.
FOOTBALL: West Scores Late to Down GHS 20-17
West used a last-minute scoring march to down Gatesville 20-17 Friday night in non-district play. In a game that saw the lead change hands most of the night, the Trojans' score with less than a minute to play capped a night of wild plays and excitement played before an overflow crowd at Trojan Field. Gatesville, which had picked up its first win of the season a week earlier against then-unbeaten Waco Connally, falls to 1-3. The Hornets close out non-district play next week at home against Salado. West, which remained unbeaten with the win, took a 3-0 lead midway through the opening quarter. The Trojans took advantage of a high snap on a punt attempt and set up shop deep in Hornet territory. The GHS defense stiffened and forced a 22-yard field goal. Gatesville wasted little time erasing the deficit, assembling a nifty 92-yard scoring march that consumed nine plays. Jeff Speer (167 yards passing) connected with Andraque Jones (101 yards receiving, 38 rushing) on a 57-yard pass to set up the Hornets' first trip to the end zone, which ended with Jones scoring on a 1-yard run. Abate Hennessy's PAT made it 7-3 with 1:15 left in the period. Gatesville's defense would flex its muscles again during the second quarter. West took the ensuing kickoff and drove to the GHS 18 yard line, but the Hornets held and West missed a field goal try. A key stop on that threat was an Alex Pittman sack on third down. GHS fumbled at its own 13 yard line two plays after the missed field goal, giving West a great opportunity on its next possession. After three plays the Trojans had it 1st-and-goal at the one, but the Hornet defense again rose to the occasion and Matthew Bell thwarted the Trojans with an interception on fourth down. The score remained 7-3 at the half, but Gatesville upped its lead with another impressive drive in the third quarter that ended with Hennessy's 32-yard field goal that made it 10-3 with 3:03 remaining in the third. West would tie the game before the period expired, then recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff that led to a Trojan field goal and 13-10 lead just two plays into the final stanza. Gatesville was forced to punt on its next series, but the Hornets got the ball back when Cooper Edmiston recovered a West fumble at the Trojan 37 yard line. The Hornets moved quickly on foot, with Speer, Jones and Payden Smalley toting the pigskin behind an offensive line that was opening gaping holes. Jones' 2-yard run with 1:52 to play capped the short march and gave GHS a 17-13 lead with 1:52 left in the game. However, West took the next possession and moved 89 yards, getting the go-ahead touchdown with 0:46 to play. Defensive standouts for the Hornets included Cooper Edmiston (14 tackles, 1 fumble), Addison Santulan (8 tackles, 2 for loss), Sam Jackson (7 tackles), Jones (6 tackles, 1 interception, 1 blocked punt), Bryce Cole (6 tackles, 1 for loss) and Pittman (6 tackles, 2 sacks).
FOOTBALL: Sub-Varsities Notch Wins Thursday
Gatesville High sub-varsity teams racked up wins here Thursday night. The Hornet JV downed West 35-30 to even its season record at 2-2, while the Hornet 9th Graders won 35-0 for their third win in four outings. Both teams will be in action next Thursday at Salado.
FOOTBALL: Hornets Facing Another Unbeaten Friday
For the third straight week, Gatesville finds itself opposite an opponent without a loss so far this season. This week, it's the West Trojans. Gatesville and West collide Friday night at 7:30 p.m. at Trojan Field. West, which dropped a classification prior to this season and competes in Class 3A, has steamrolled to three consecutive wins. The Trojans have knocked off Clifton (50-6), Salado (42-6) and Venus (42-19). None of the three are the same caliber of teams Gatesville has been playing during that same span, but GHS coach Kyle Cooper says West still is a threat. "They are playing well and they have a lot of momentum over there right now," he said. "They have looked good in their first three games, and no doubt they are doing things right on both sides of the ball." Cooper said Friday's game will have an added level of excitement for West, which will be celebrating its homecoming. Meanwhile, Gatesville is coming off an impressive 34-20 verdict over previously-unbeaten Waco Connally after successive losses to Brownwood and Stephenville to start the season. "It was good for our kids to get that win," he noted. "Despite the two losses, we made a lot of strides during that time and continued to get better. Our kids did a good job buying into what we were trying to accomplish."
FOOTBALL: Vernon-led Hornets Power Past Connally 34-20
Someone forgot to tell Gatesville it was the underdog here Friday night. The upstart Hornets rebounded from a pair of season-opening losses to down previously-unbeaten Waco Connally 34-20 at McKamie Stadium. “I was proud of our kids for their effort,” said GHS coach Kyle Cooper. “They did a good job of carrying out the game plan we had installed. More than that, I liked the way they kept believing in our system and what we were trying to accomplish.” It was a sweet victory for GHS, which had suffered lopsided defeats at the hands of Brownwood and Stephenville in its first two outings. Running back Dakota Vernon rushed for 259 yards and Jeff Speer added 199 total yards for the Hornets, who simply outmatched their visitors in a game that was not as close as the final score indicated. GHS accumulated 27 first downs and 470 yards offense, with 395 coming on the ground. “Offensively, we did a good job being physical and moving the ball,” he said. “Our defense had a great bend-but-don’t-break mentality all night long.” Gatesville, which built a 20-6 lead in the first half, flexed its muscle and might up front to control the line of scrimmage and allow Vernon and quarterback Jeff Speer to roam freely. After spotting their guests an early 6-0 lead, GHS answered when Andraque Jones found the end zone on a 3-yard scoring run. The Hornets produced scores twice in a six-minute span of the second frame – Speer on a 1-yard run and Brady Elliott on a 1-yard pass from Speer – to go ahead 20-6. Connally managed to cut the lead to 20-13 seconds before the first half ended, and the Cadets looked to be on the verge of another second-half comeback in the third quarter. GHS had taken the kickoff and drove the length of the field, but the scoring threat ended on a Hornet fumble at the Cadets' 12 yard line. Connally took just seven plays to tie the contest at 20-20. It would be the final trip to paydirt for the visitors. Gatesville, its line opening gaping holes and bottling up the inside for Vernon and Speer, came right back with an 11-play, 68-yard march. Speer, who rushed for 124 yards and passed for 75 (6-of-10), hit Andrew Wallace (3-50 receiving) for six yards on a key 4th-and-5 to keep the drive alive. Vernon punctuated the march with a 5-yard jaunt around right end that made it 27-20 with just 0:23 left in the third quarter. Speer would culminate the night’s scoring with a 5-yard keeper coming with just 2:22 remaining and punctuating another long march. This one lasted 10 plays and consumed more than six minutes off the clock, giving the Hornets a 34-20 lead. Defensive luminaries for GHS included Bryce Cole (15 tackles, 2 for loss, 1 caused fumble), Cooper Edmiston (10 tackles, 1 sack), Payden Smalley (8 tackles),Addison Santulan (7 tackles), and A. Jones (6 tackles, 1 caused fumble). “It was a nice win, especially after our first two weeks,” added Cooper. “We had made improvement from those first two weeks. I think our kids showed how they are capable of playing.” Gatesville travels to West (3-0) this Friday. Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m.
FOOTBALL: GHS JV-9th Teams Sweep Connally
Gatesville High sub-varsity teams swept Waco Connally Thursday night. The Hornet JV won 26-22 for its first win of the season. The Hornet 9th Grade defeated the Cadets 23-8 for their second win in three outings. GHS squads will play three games here September 18 - 9th Black vs. Belton at 4, 9th Gold vs. West at 5:30, JV vs. West at 7 p.m.
FOOTBALL: GHS to Honor Military Members Friday
Friday night is Military Appreciation Night at McKamie Stadium, with Gatesville High to honor dozens of current military members during the Hornet-Waco Connally game. Some 200-plus soldiers, most set to deploy in a few days, will be stationed along the track. "This is our way to show support for the military and thanking them for everything they do for our country," said GHS athletic director / head football coach Kyle Cooper. "Besides the soldiers positioned along the field area, we will have a General form Fort Hood to do the coin toss and there will be a color guard here as well." Hornet fans are reminded to wear their black and gold but to also bring U.S. flags and anything red, white and blue they might have. Also in observance of Military Appreciation Night, any soldier attired in military dress or with a military ID will be admitted free to the game.
FOOTBALL: 2-0 Connally is GHS' Next Foe Friday
Gatesville continues its stretch of brutal non-district tests this week, as the Hornets host Waco Connally here Friday night. Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m. at McKamie Stadium. Friday's game is Military Appreciation Night and will include numerous current military members sitting around the field. For GHS, it will be Week 3 of a demanding pre-district schedule and it comes against another powerhouse. Connally comes into this week's matchup still unbeaten after wins over 3A No. 1 Cameron (63-49) and China Spring (40-35). "They are talented, very talented," noted Gatesville coach Kyle Cooper. "They have great athleticism and speed. It will be a different challenge for us than what we have seen the first two weeks." The Cadets, once former district rivals of GHS, offer a different look on both sides of the ball. "They have speed at so many positions offensively, and defensively they load most of their guys in the box and dare you to beat them." Gatesville has already suffered losses to Brownwood (35-0) on opening night and to 4A No. 1-ranked Stephenville (49-6) last week. Despite the two setbacks, Cooper has seen improvement in his squad's performance from one week to the next. "We corrected a lot of things against Stephenville, things we didn't do a great job of the first week," he said. "Offensively, we moved the ball well last week and produced a lot of points, we just didn't get into the end zone to punctuate our drives." Despite the 0-2 start, he sees his troops still working hard every day and challenging on Friday nights. "Stephenville showed us that we weren't ready for the best team in the state, but I think we proved to ourselves that we could do some things against them," he explained. "However, we have got to keep improving and strengthening some areas of concern." After this week, GHS will face West (there, Sept. 19) and Salado (here, Sept. 26) to conclude the non-district portion of its schedule. After an open week, the Hornets will begin District 13-4A play October 10 at Waco La Vega. HORNET NOTES: Friday being Military Appreciation Night, many of the military men and women in attendance are set to be deployed shortly afterwards. Be sure to stop by and thank them for their service to our country...GHS will host its annual Big Sting Game on Sept. 26 against Salado....GHS Homecoming is October 17 against Lampasas.
FOOTBALL: No. 1 Stephenville Downs GHS 49-6
Top-ranked Stephenville spoiled Gatesville's 2014 home debut here Friday night, defeating the Hornets 49-6 in a non-district game at McKamie Stadium. It was another stinging loss for the Hornets, who are facing a monstrous early-season schedule. The visiting Yellow Jackets, ranked No. 1 in Class 4A this week, scored on seven of nine offensive possessions. Stephenville scored its first touchdown in just over a minute for a quick 7-0 lead, but GHS responded with a nice drive that pushed to the SHS 20 yard line before Abate Hennessy kicked true on a 37-yard field goal. The visitors came right back, scoring a pair of teedees within an eight-minute span to go ahead 21-3. Gatesville kept moving the ball and again marched from deep in its own end of the field well into SHS territory. The drive ended in another Hennessy field goal, this one from 23 yards to cut the gap to 21-6 with six minutes left in the first half. Stephenville put up another score right before the half ended, then the Yellow Jackets added a pair of third-quarter touchdowns to extend their lead to 42-6. Jeff Speer hit 11-of-19 passes for 108 yards, with Andrew Wallace grabbing four catches for 34 yards and Andraque Jones snaring four passes for 33 yards. Dakota Vernon rushed 16 times for 101 yards. Gatesville, now 0-2 this season, faces unbeaten Waco Connally here Friday. Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m.
FOOTBALL: Sub-Varsity Teams 1-2 vs. Stephenville
Gatesville High JV and 9th teams won one of three outings at Stephenville Thursday night. The 9th Gold team picked up its first victory with a 41-22 win. The JV lost 33-14, while the 9th Black squad fell 20-14. All three teams are in action next week.
FOOTBALL: No. 1 Stephenville Next GHS Foe Friday
Gatesville will make its 2014 home debut this week, and the Hornets get to face the state's top-ranked team in the process. GHS will host No. 1-ranked Stephenville here Friday night, with kickoff slated for 7:30 p.m. at McKamie Stadium. "I see it as a great opportunity for our kids and our program," said Gatesville coach Kyle Cooper. "They are a good football team, a very storied program, and we have an opportunity in front of us." Stephenville, one of the largest schools in this classification, comes in as the No. 1 team in Class 4A. The Yellow Jackets opened the season with a 43-0 win over South Anchorage, Alaska last week. "They are very solid and have some exceptional talent at many positions. We are going to have to contain their playmakers, play very good football ourselves, and not make a lot of mistakes." NOTES: It is Parent Night here Friday, with parents of all football players and fall activities being introduced prior to kickoff...FOOD: Hornet Booster Club and Gatesville Volunteer Fire Department will be offering free hot dogs starting at 6 p.m. in the parking lot next to Primary School...The newly-completed restroom/concession building should be in full swing for Friday's game. The million-dollar project is the final major phase in the refurbishing of McKamie Stadium.
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