Stingy defense keys Hornets to 3rd win
Daniel Cernero, Sentinel Sports EditorGATESVILLE - “End zone; that’s all I saw.”
Thursday, September 20, 2012
When Connally quarterback Kristian Brown lost the handle on a hand-off, Hornets’ defensive lineman Taylor Donaldson found himself in the prime position, with the ball falling into his arms and an unimpeded path to a touchdown.
“They put me on a stunt, and I got outside,” Donaldson said describing the play, “and next thing I know, the ball is flying right into my arms. I guess I just lucked out, but it turned out good.”
The 34-yard fumble recovery produced the first points of the night and foreshadowed the problems Gatesville would give the Connally offense throughout the game, which the Hornets won 24-7 Friday night at McKamie Stadium.
Donaldson said it was an exciting start for the defense.
“I think when the defense does that, I think it lifts up the offense, too,” he said, adding that it adds extra incentive for the offense to perform well. “They don’t want just the defense to score, so they come out screaming and trying to get it into the end zone, too.”
Gatesville senior quarterback Cole Edmiston scored the offense’s first points on an 11-yard keep, but it was his second rushing touchdown of the half that displayed how dangerous he can be at the helm of an offense. After rolling out left and finding no open receiver, Edmiston tucked the ball and swept against the grain untouched to the right corner of the end zone.
Head coach Kyle Cooper said Edmiston’s ability to make a play on his feet is where he’s made the biggest jump from his junior season.
“He’s throwing the ball really well this year, but it’s just his ability to make a play and his confidence to go make a play when it starts to break down,” Cooper said. “(He’s) a tremendous athlete and a tremendous young man and a tremendous competitor, so there’s going to be more of that.”
“I like to make stuff happen with my feet, and with my arm,” Edmiston added, “but when things break down, that’s what they always tell me: be a playmaker. And that’s what I try to do.”
With a padded 21-0 lead at halftime, the Hornets’ defense flexed their muscle in the second half, continually stopping the Cadets on do-or-die fourth downs.
“Hats off to the defense – that’s a good offensive team,” Cooper said referring to Connally.
“They run the heck out of that option. “I really thought our defense did a great job and had a good game plan and contained them.
“We just tried to slow it down,” he said of containing the option. “The D-ends did a great job – we asked them to be really unselfish.”
Donaldson said the defensive line played that way by feeding off each other, letting his defense’s linebackers feed off them to get the tackles.
“We need to make it to where we don’t just get the tackle; we need to help the team,” he said. “So if we get a down block, we squeeze on that tackle so that it doesn’t get the backer, and the backer can feed off of us to get the running back.”
Donaldson said that after one guy gets to the ball, “then the swarm comes.”
Throughout the game, Gatesville forced an impressive five turnover-on-downs.
“That’s unbelievable,” Donaldson said. “I’m just so proud of the defense and the way that all of seniors are playing, and even the younger juniors. Everyone’s just come a long way since two-a-days.”
Part of the defense’s success – in the second half, the Connally offense did not reach the Gatesville 20-yard line until its final possession of the game – came from limiting Connally stand-out Chris Harrison. The 6-foot-5 receiver was held to only one reception, a six-yard grab in the third quarter.
Gatesville advanced to a perfect 3-0 thus far and continues its non-district slate on the road against Taylor.
High School Football Schedule
Round Rock Stony Point 23, Shoemaker 20
Waco 24, Ellison 16
Cedar Park 10, Harker Heights 0
Copperas Cove 54,
Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon 7
Belton 42, Bryan 16
Southlake Carroll 34, Temple 0
Lorena 30, Lampasas 12
Gatesville 24, Waco
China Spring 42, Salado 7
(All times 7:30 p.m.)
Round Rock at Belton
Round Rock Stony Point at Killeen
Gatesville at Taylor