After taking a 27-3 loss against the Beeville Trojans last week, the Gonzales Apaches (5-2, 1-1) are practicing as if they are getting ready for a playoff game, due to how deep in the season the team is. The Apaches coaching staff has changed up the way they practice with what Gonzales head coach Mike Waldie calls a “3A-style practice,” meaning the entire team will practice offense and defense, in hopes of being ready to knock off another district team and be ready for playoffs.
“We’re practicing as if it’s one-and-done,” Gonzales head coach Mike Waldie said, “and we’ve got three weeks to get good at that practice so when we get to the playoffs, we’re ready for that so that we’re not one-and-done.”
Headed into Week 9 of the football season, many athletes are dealing with bumps and bruises. Friday night against the Trojans, running back Dillen Ramos took a few snaps but was ultimately pulled from the game due to an injury suffered the week prior. Meanwhile, junior offensive lineman Christian Almaguer went down with an injury early in the second quarter and didn’t return to the game. Both are considered game-time decisions this week.
Excluding those two, Waldie noted that the team is at a point in the season where athletes will have to fight through being “hurt” versus being “injured.”
“Everybody is bruised and hurt,” Waldie said. “Who’s injured? That’s what we have to overcome. Injuries are ‘outs’ — broken bones, ACLs, concussions — those are people out. Sprains, bruises, ribs, ‘hurts,’ Week 9, you got to find a way to fight through that and that comes with better maintenance, more treatment.”
With the amount of “hurts” on the team, expect a few athletes to play multiple positions.
“The best 11 are going to start,” Waldie said, “we’re not worried about injuries anymore. My point is, you get to a point in the year where it’s all or not. You try to be safe to get to the point where we got through that Pleasanton game as healthy as we could. Now, we kind of have to roll the dice. If you want to make a legitimate run in the playoffs, not just make the playoffs and play a game, which a lot of people are happy with. If you want to make a run, your Diegos, your Lions, your Doras, Desmond Bolden, the quarterback Heath, these guys got to start playing both sides of the ball, not just be backups. They may need to start both sides of the ball.”
The Apaches will need their best 11 when they take on the La Vernia Bears (4-3, 0-1) at home this Friday. La Vernia will be a different kind of challenge for Waldie’s staff in that the Bears have a very similar system, both offensively and defensively.
“I grew up with most of these guys, we’ve all worked together,” Waldie said. “[La Vernia head football] coach [Chris] Taber and I grew up together, we were on the same staff in Jacksonville. His DC was my old OC, his o-line coach, his wide receiver coach, we all worked together. So the first thing that makes them different is you know them like the back of your hands. This is one of those ‘I don’t like’ games, I wish that didn’t happen but it does.”
On the field, the Bears have what Waldie believes are the top two receivers in the district as well as a “Division I quarterback.”
“They got weapons all over the field, offensively,” Waldie said.
The key for the Apaches is for the defense to make stops and get off the field while the offense maintains drives.
A win for the Apaches against La Vernia or Boerne on Nov. 7 gives Gonzales a playoff berth.
“Bottom line is if we win one of those, we’re in,” Waldie said. “If we win two of those, we set ourselves up for the number two seed. That changes the path you take in the playoffs. We don’t want to be sitting there, Week 11, after Boerne, hoping that beating Pleasanton was enough to get in.”
Kickoff at Apache Field this Friday is set for 7:30 p.m.
|District 15-4AD1 football standings|