There are times where it takes a little longer than usual to get going.
The Gonzales football team found this out on Friday as it trailed 6-0 at the end of the first quarter. But the Apaches dominated the final three quarters thanks to a 255-yard, 3-touchdown night from Cecil Johnson in a 47-6 rout of College Station Friday at a rain-soaked Apache Field in Gonzales.
“(College Station) loaded the box up and played man on us,” Gonzales coach Ricky Lock said. “But we spread them out and started picking them apart.”
Gonzales (3-1) struggled for much of the first half as the Apaches were held scoreless in the first quarter and suffered a pair of turnovers inside the College Station 25-yard line – one in the first quarter and one in the second. Cougars’ coach Steve Huff believes his defense had a hand in the Apaches’ struggles.
“We played good defense in the first half, but those guys were on the field too long in the second half,” College Station coach Steve Huff said. “Gonzales did what we thought they would. They were physical, and they gave the ball to their tailback. We also haven’t seen a defensive line as good as theirs.”
College Station (1-4) is a first-year program who is playing an independent schedule during its first two years of existence. The Cougars consist of freshmen and sophomores only this year, but will add a grade level in each of the next two years.
College Station will become a 9-12 campus in the 2014-15 school year. While the Cougars came up short on Friday, Huff still remained optimistic about his team.
“I love how these kids keep fighting,” he said. “They’re hard workers and it’s been fun. With a young team like this, you highlight the good things and build on those.”
Early on the rain took its toll as neither team scored on its first two possessions. But College Station struck first on a 97-yard touchdown pass from Cole Whittlesey to Jeremiah Booker with 41 seconds left in the first quarter.
The Whittlesey-to-Booker score was set up by Travis Tate’s interception at his own 3 with 53 seconds left in the opening period. But the Cougars’ momentum was short-lived.
Darrance James took the ensuing kickoff back 40 yards to the College Station 42, and Johnson reeled off runs of 6 and 31 yards before scoring from five yards out on the opening play of the second quarter. The swinging gate try for two failed as the score remained tied at 6 at the 11:55 mark of the second quarter.
The Cougars moved the ball backward in the second quarter as a trio of errant shotgun snaps led to a loss of 31 yards and thwarted all three of their drives in the period. College Station did not pick up a first down in the second quarter.
Gonzales took advantage of the short field position as the Apaches scored on their final two drives of the second quarter. A short punt downed at the College Station 19 gave Gonzales stellar field position as the Apaches scored in six plays on a 3-yard run from Zack Lopez with 6:37 left in the second quarter.
Lopez’s score was set up by a 10-yard pass from Hillman to James on fourth-and-7 from the Cougars 16. The drive covered 19 yards in six plays.
Following College Station’s third punt of the second quarter, Gonzales went on one of its signature clock-consuming drives as the Apaches drove 57 yards in 13 plays and concluded the drive with a 1-yard score from Johnson with one second left before halftime. Johnson had 29 yards on nine carries on the drive, while Lopez picked up eight yards on a fourth-and-1 from the College Station 35.
After a trade of punts on both teams’ first possessions of the third quarter, Gonzales started to pull away. The Apaches scored on the next four drives before running out the clock on their final drive.
Johnson scored from 40 yards out to cap a two-play, 57-yard drive in which he also had a 17-yard carry on the first play of the possession. Morgan Martinez picked up an errant snap on the PAT attempt and ran it in for two points to increase the lead to 26-6 at the 8:53 mark of the third quarter.
A College Station punt was followed by a six-play, 65-yard drive for Gonzales, which concluded with a 1-yard touchdown run form Hillman to make it 33-6 with 4:11 left in the third. During the drive, Johnson had carries of 35, 7 and 8 yards, and Lopez had carries of 10 and 4 yards.
The Apaches’ reserves had a pair of touchdowns in the fourth quarter as well. Both scores were generated off of eight- or nine-play drives.
D.J. Gonzales scored on a 4-yard touchdown run at the 9:41 mark of the period to cap an eight-play, 74-yard drive. Johnson had a 30-yard run – his last of the night – on the drive, while Lopez had carries of 6 and 4 yards, and Gonzales had all five of his carries for 34 yards and the touchdown on the drive.
Martinez added a 5-yard score with four minutes left in the contest to complete a nine-play, 63-yard drive. Alyas Ramirez had four carries for 18 yards on the drive, while Martinez ran five times for 29 yards and the score.
In addition to Johnson’s 255-yard night – his season-high – Hillman completed 8-of-14 passes for 82 yards and Cameron Smith led all Apache receivers with three catches for 44 yards. Friday’s contest was Smith’s first since receiving an emergency appendectomy on Sept. 5.
“It felt good to be back,” Smith said. “I thought I would be a little rusty being out for three weeks, but I wasn’t. My teammates stood by me and they trusted me to get the ball. It feels good to have the ball in my hands.”
The Apaches have a short week as they play on Thursday this week against Sam Houston. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. Thursday at the San Antonio ISD Spring Sports Complex on the Burbank High School campus off the intersection of I-35, I-10 and U.S. Highway 90 in San Antonio.