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FOOTBALL: China Spring Ends GHS' Playoff Hopes 17-7
Gatesville was fighting for a playoff berth right down to the very final seconds of Friday's regular-season closer at China Spring. Unfortunately, the Hornets came up shy in a 10-point loss and the league's tie-breaker rule. China Spring (2-3 district) made off with a 17-7 win in the finale and in the process claimed one of District 17-4A's postseason nods along with La Vega (4-1), Burnet (4-1) and Robinson (2-3). Gatesville, which finishes the season 4-6 overall and 2-3 in district, actually tied with Robinson and China Spring in district play but needed to either win Friday or lose by no more than six points based on the league's 3-team tie-breaker rule. “My heart goes out to our seniors who were playing their last game tonight,” said Gatesville head coach Kyle Cooper. “I wish we could have gotten it done tonight and advanced — for them." China Spring led 3-0 after the first two quarters. Gatesville's defense allowed just 43 yards rushing in the first half. The host-Cougars increased that lead to 10-0 early in the third period, but GHS responded before the quarter ended. Dakota Vernon's 20-yard touchdown run capped an impressive 10-play, 76-yard drive aided by a 34-yard pass from Collin Hallgarth to Andraque Jones. Gatesville took its next possession and drove deep into CS territory but was unable to convert on a potential game-tying field goal. China Spring still needed to extend the point differential and did so by scoring with just 2:02 left in the game. Gatesville's valiant last-minute next effort ended on downs at the Cougars' 28 yard line. "I’m proud of these kids for the season they gave us," noted Cooper. "They fought all the way to the end. There were plenty of times this year they could have laid down — and they never did.”
FOOTBALL: Hornet Fate Simple...Win and In Friday
The District 13-4A race has been almost exactly what most observers thought it would be in 2014, grueling on a weekly basis and down to the wire to determine all four playoff berths. That being said, Gatesville enters the final week of the regular season with a road game awaiting Friday at China Spring. For the Hornets, it is simple - win and you're in. GHS could actually advance with a loss to the Cougars but would need some help and a point differential advantage to do so. "It has been what we all knew coming in...very competitive, very good each week," Gatesville coach Kyle Cooper said of the 13-4A schedule. "Here it is the last week of the regular season and all six teams have a shot at making the postseason...everyone's got something to play for Friday night." China Spring (4-5 overall) is always formidable playing at home but coming off a two-game losing streak. Meanwhile, Gatesville hopes to ride the waves from last week's 35-28 knock-off of Robinson, one of three such upsets in the league last week that kept things in a turmoil. La Vega and Burnet share the district lead at 3-1, Gatesville and Robinson are 2-2, China Spring and Lampasas 1-3. In other 13-4A matchups Friday, Burnet hosts Lampasas and La Vega faces Robinson.
FOOTBALL: Late-Game Drive Sends GHS Past Rockets
For all of Friday night's slugfest, Gatesville and Robinson traded possessions and the scoring lead. When it came down to it, GHS got last word and did so with an impressive 97-yard scoring drive in the final two minutes of a wild 35-28 win over the Rockets. The victory, along with a couple of other upsets (La Vega 33-28 over Burnet, Lampasas 34-20 over China Spring) the same night, leaves the District 13-4A race wide open heading into the final week of the regular season. La Vega and Burnet now share the league lead at 3-1, Gatesville and Robinson are 2-2, Lampasas and China Spring 1-3. All six teams have a legitimate playoff hope alive going into next Friday's regular-season finales. Gatesville needs only a win at China Spring to secure a playoff berth and even a loss with some other doings could also send the Hornets into the postseason. Friday's game was actually a game of two halves - the first one low-scoring and defensive-minded, the final one about offense and big plays. Robinson took a 7-0 advantage on its first possession and held that lead until seconds before halftime. Hornet quarterback Jeff Speer, who had a monster night with 292 yards offense, scored on a 3-yard keeper to tie with game just 34 seconds before intermission. The scoring pace picked up in the first three minutes after halftime. Matthew Bell returned a Robinson fumble 42 yards for a score, and Speer dashed 39 yards for a score after RHS had tied it again to give his team a 21-14 lead just four minutes into the third quarter. Robinson closed the gap to 21-20 as the period ended, then the Rockets went ahead 28-21 five plays into the final quarter. It would be the visitors last trip to the end zone. Speer (24-159 rushing, 9-of-17 passing for 133 yards) capped a quick 66-yard scoring march with a 31-yard run to tie the game at 28-28 with 8:58 remaining. After an exchange of possessions, GHS got the ball one last time at its own three yard line with less than two minutes remaining. Runs by Speer and Kael Byrom (5-37 rushing), and Speer pass completions to Andrew Wallace (3-76 receiving) moved the ball well into Rocket territory. The Hornets were actually trying to line up a perfect spot for a field goal try, but Alex Thompson (9-26 rushing) broke loose on a 8-yard run to seal the win with just 0:16 showing on the clock. Gatesville, behind some outstanding work from its offensive line, amassed 22 first downs and 414 yards offense. The Hornet defense was led by Nick Gibson (9 tackles), Sam Jackson (9), Cooper Edmiston (8) and Addison Santulan (6).
FOOTBALL: GHS Hosting Robinson in 13-4A Bout
Gatesville will make its final appearance in front of the home folks Friday night, as the Hornets host Robinson in a District 13-4A showdown. Kickoff for GHS' home finale is set for 7:30 p.m. at McKamie Stadium in the special Senior Night and Black-Out Night game. The Hornets, who travel to China Spring next week to finish the regular season, are still in the hunt for a playoff berth and a win Friday would increase those chances. "It's a big game, just like all of the games in 13-4A," said GHS coach Kyle Cooper. "The playoff scenario is going to go down to the very last week of the season and could still involve every team in our district." Robinson, which started the season with a four-game winning streak, is 6-2 overall and 2-1 in league play. The Rockets own victories over Lampasas (40-14) and China Spring (42-21), while the lone district setback was a 45-23 loss against league-leading Burnet. "They are very talented all over the field," said Cooper. "They have a Division I - type running back and a lot of athletes and size to go with him." Gatesville (3-5 overall) is coming off last week's 57-0 defeat at Burnet. The loss left GHS at 1-2 in district play - its win coming against Lampasas (38-20) and other loss to La Vega (42-21). "We have to regroup from last week's loss, put that beside us and play the way we are capable," added Cooper. The top four teams from each district will earn postseason berths. Burnet leads the 13-4A standings at 3-0, Robinson and La Vega are 2-1, Gatesville and China Spring 1-2, Lampasas 0-3.
FOOTBALL: 13-4A Leader Burnet Beats Hornets 57-0
Gatesville dropped a 57-0 decision to Burnet on the road Friday. The league-leading Bulldogs led 20-0 after the opening quarter and had built a 43-0 lead by halftime. GHS was paced offensively by Nick Gibson (6-33 rushing) and Andrew Wallace (3-19 receiving). With the loss, the Hornets fall to 3-5 overall and 1-2 in District 13-4A play with two games to play. Burnet leads the 6-team standings at 3-0, followed by Robinson (42-21 over China Spring) and La Vega (43-42 OT winner over Lampasas) at 2-1, Gatesville and China Spring 1-2, Lampasas 0-3. GHs hosts Robinson here Friday in the Hornets' hone finale, then closes the regular season November 7 at China Spring.
FOOTBALL: Unbeaten Burnet Next Foe for GHS
Gatesville continues its trek in District 13-4A this week, as the resurgent Hornets travel to Burnet this Friday night. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. at Bulldog Stadium. "It's another big game for us," said GHS coach Kyle Cooper. "Every game is a big one in our district." GHS (3-4 overall) is coming off a much-needed 38-20 win over Lampasas, a victory that evened the club's league record at 1-1 and put the Hornets in a 4-way tie along with Robinson, China Spring and La Vega. Meanwhile, Burnet has won six of its seven games this fall. The Bulldogs defeated Marble Falls (51-45), Fredericksburg (55-7), Waco University (51-21) and Taylor (43-13) in non-district, their only blemish a 40-16 second-week setback against Abilene Wylie. So far in 13-4A play, Burnet has downed China Spring (38-28) and Robinson (45-23). "They are a very good football team, no doubt about it," Cooper said.
FOOTBALL: Sub-Varsity Teams 1-2 vs. Burnet Thursday
Gatesville High sub-varsity teams won one of three games with Burnet here Thursday night in District 13-4A play. The 9th Gold team won 23-14 to improve to 7-1 overall and remain unbeaten in league play at 3-0. JV lost 7-6 and is now 3-5, 0-3 respectively. The 9th Black lost 6-0 in a one-quarter game is falls to 1-5 this season.
FOOTBALL: GHS Evens 13-4A Mark with 38-20 Win
Gatesville put itself back into playoff talk here Friday night, hammering Lampasas 38-20 in a game that was not near as close as the final score indicated. Jeff Speer passed for 115 yards and Alex Thompson rushed for 98 as GHS built a 38-6 lead and was never threatened. The Hornet defense was even more impressive, allowing their run-oriented guests only 56 yards rushing in the first half. “I can’t express enough how impressed I was with our defensive play tonight,” said Gatesville coach Kyle Cooper. “They got after it. When you face an offense as good as the one Lampasas has, you need people flying to the ball. You need people taking care of their assignments — and that’s what we had." Gatesville opened the scoring late in the opening quarter, as Speer toted the pigskin 10 yards for a touchdown. Abate Hennessy kicked true on a 26-yard field goal midway through the second period to make it 10-0. GHS successfully converted an onsides kick after the field goal, setting up the Hornet offense again. This drive ended on a Speer 5-yard keeper to make it 17-0 with 1:09 left in the first half. Lampasas reached the end zone with just 0:23 remaining in the half, but GHS accounted for the game's next two scores and upped its lead to 38-6 with less than three minutes to play. GHS finished with 401 yards offense while limiting Lampasas to 294. The Hornet defense was led by Cooper Edmiston (10 tackles), Addison Santulan (10), Sam Jackson (8), Michael Hallman (7) and Nick Gibson (7). "Tonight proved it’s all about us,” Cooper said. “When we execute, when we make plays, we see positive things.” With the win, Gatesville joins a 4-team pack of 1-1 teams in District 13-4A. Burnet leads the 6-team standings at 2-0, while Gatesville, Robinson, La Vega and China Spring are 1-1, Lampasas 0-2. The Hornets travel to Burnet next week.
FOOTBALL: GHS Trying to Bounce Back Versus Badgers
A week after a disappointing league-opening loss, Gatesville High will try to position itself back in the District 17-4A playoff talk when it hosts Lampasas here Friday night. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. for the 2014 GHS Homecoming game. It will be a matchup of teams that suffered first-week district losses - Gatesville losing 42-21 at La Vega, Lampasas suffering a 40-19 home loss against Robinson. "We've got to have a good week of work, get a win Friday night and get ourselves back into the playoff picture," said GHS head coach Kyle Cooper. The Hornets were tied 21-21 with La Vega midway through the third quarter last week, but the host-Pirates accounted for the game's final three scores. Gatesville was denied on a couple of scoring opportunities down the stretch. "They just made more plays than we did," noted Cooper. Lampasas was never close in its loss to Robinson, with the Badgers falling behind 26-0 in the first half. It was only the second loss in six games for LHS, which has beaten Lago Vista (24-17), Austin Reagan (46-7), Lorena (20-18) and Canyon Lake (21-14) to go along with a season-opening loss to Fredericksburg (22-15). "They present a whole different challenge for our kids," said Cooper. "Their offense is like nothing we have faced all season long. We will have to be very disciplined on every play."
FOOTBALL: Sub-Varsities 2-1 Versus LHS Thursday
Gatesville High sub-varsity teams won two-of-three games at Lampasas Thursday night. The 9th Gold team kept its winning ways going with a 14-13 win, improving its season record to 6-1 overall and 2-0 in district play. The Hornet JV lost 28-21 and is now 3-4, 0-2 respectively. Lampasas also won the 9th Black game 40-6. All three teams will be in action next Thursday here against Burnet (9th Black at 4:00, 9th Gold at 5:30, JV at 7:00 PM).
FOOTBALL: La Vega Beats GHS 42-21 in 17-4A Opener
La Vega broke open a tie game by scoring three unanswered touchdowns in the second half, giving the Pirates a 42-21 win over Gatesville Friday night in the District 17-4A opener. In a game that went back and forth for almost three quarters, La Vega's 21-point run in the final half led to the victory. With the loss, GHS falls to 2-4 overall and 0-1 in league play. In other district games the same night, Burnet held off China Spring 38-28 and Robinson routed Lampasas 40-14. Gatesville returns home Friday to host Lampasas, with kickoff for this week's homecoming game set for 7:30 p.m. at McKamie Stadium. La Vega scored first in Friday's league opener, but it didn't take GHS long to respond. The Hornets' ensuing possession lasted just two minutes and ended when Jeff Speer (10-of-25 passing, 153 yards) connected with Andraque Jones on a 35-yard scoring strike. Abate Hennessy's PAT tied the game at 7-7. La Vega scored before the opening quarter ended, but GHS again responded with a game-tying march that ended on Speer's 32-yard TD pass to Brady Elliott. By halftime, La Vega was up 21-14 but Gatesville wasted little time answering with another scoring drive. This one was mostly on the ground and was punctuated on Dakota Vernon's 7-yard scamper that tied the contest at 21-21 barely three minutes into the third period. Vernon finished with 151 yards rushing on 19 totes, while Speer added 78 on 14 carries. Unfortunately for GHS, Vernon's trip to the end zone would be the team's last of the night, as La Vega scored before the third stanza ended and added a pair of fourth-quarter teedees to seal the win. GHS rolled up 22 first downs and 384 yards offense. Andrew Wallace snared three passes for 49 yards, Cooper Edmiston had three for 21 yards and Payden Smalley two for 16 yards. Defensively, Edmiston recorded 16 tackles, Sam Jackson and Nick Gibson 12 each, Addison Santulan 11 tackles and one for loss.
FOOTBALL: Sub-Varsity Teams 2-1 Thursday Night
Gatesville High sub-varsity squads won two-of-three outings Thursday night. The 9th Gold beat La Vega 53-26 in the District 13-4A opener, raising its record to 5-1 overall. The 9th Black defeated Lampasas 17-26 for its first win in four tries. The Hornet JV fell to La Vega 22-12 and is now 3-3 this season. All three teams will be in action next week at Lampasas.
FOOTBALL: Hornets Open 13-4A Slate Friday at La Vega
Throw out all win-loss records to this point because it all starts anew Friday night. That's when Gatesville takes on La Vega in the District 13-4A, Div. I league opener. Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m. at Pirate Field. It's the first of five district games for GHS, which is trying to reach the playoffs this season after missing out in 2013. "This is the first of five big games," said GHS coach Kyle Cooper. "They're all huge in our district just because of the league's strength from top to bottom." La Vega, which has been a Central Texas powerhouse for several years, brings only a 1-4 record into this week's district opener. The Pirates opened with an impressive 41-15 win over Alvarado in the first week but have since lost to Class 5A Hutto (14-38), Lorena (28-35), Mexia (21-40) and Waco Connally (27-35). "They are definitely not your typical one-win team," explained Cooper. "They are very quick all over the field and have very good skill-position players on offense," he said. "They are a very young team with lots of talent. I think the key for us will be our ability to limit mistakes to a minimum on both sides of the ball." Gatesville is 2-3 after wins over Connally (34-20) and Salado (42-32) and losses to Brownwood (0-35), Stephenville (6-49) and West (17-20). With the exception of Salado, the other four teams are a combined 14-6. "Our schedule, hopefully, has prepared us for the district race," he noted. "We took something from each of those losses, things that we needed to do a better job of and improving." The top four teams from each district qualify for the playoffs. In other games Friday night, Burnet (4-1) is at China Spring (3-2) and Lampasas (4-1) hosts Robinson (4-1).
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."
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