The rallying cry of the Gatesville Hornets football program is “On the Anvil.” This is a reference to an unshaped piece of metal being thrown into a fire, hammered, and shaped into a tool ready for work or a weapon ready for battle.
It’s meant to envision how this 2022 version of the Hornets would have to be shaped and shaped by the heat that comes with the loss of a stellar senior class, the introduction of a new head coach, and the infusion of a new culture. .
No one could have imagined that the fire would break out so quickly or burn so hot, as it did in Taylor on Friday. But they succeeded, and as a result, the Hornets team began to move from unformed and unknown to potentially dangerous just overnight.
Running back Ration Smith rushed for 159 yards, quarterback Jacob Newkirk had three touchdowns, and senior safety Aiden Necessary intercepted a pass with 22 seconds remaining to give the Ducks a 22-21 lead. won the victory. It’s new head coach Aaron’s first win. Hunter career.
“That was ‘OTA’. That’s our culture. When things got hard, things got hard – and they did. A lot of bad. But you found a way,” Hunter told the team after the game. “You did it. Each other.”
Gatesville’s hard, bad, and ranting soon began when Taylor’s Jackson Mellor returned the opening kickoff 77 yards for a touchdown to give the Ducks a 7–0 lead.
After a short kickoff return, the Hornets’ first offensive possession featured two fumbles, with punter Carter Williams heeling behind his own end zone to start his first try of the season.
“I didn’t like the way we started,” Hunter said after the game. “But what I loved was that they embraced the fight. Being an OTA is about overcoming adversity.”
After staggering on offense and special teams in the first two possessions, the Hornet defense took the field and punched back. Led by a group of star-swarming returners, they went to work to hold the fort down until the attackers found a ditch.
Before the game, defensive coordinator Jose Aguirre said the key to stopping Taylor was to contain the Ducks’ speedy, experienced skill position players. His defense came by interfering with the Ducks at his line of scrimmage and preventing a big play.
Senior defensive lineman Lucas Garcia threatened with quarterback sacks and four tackles, while junior Lawson Mooney led the team with 14 tackles, including two losses, one sack and two pass breakups.
“Our defense played with the lights off all night. Coach Aguirre had a phenomenal plan,” Hunter said.
As the defense kept the Ducks scoring at bay, the offense began to click thanks to one Smith’s foot and found the end zone thanks to another Smith’s hand.
The Hornets were down 7–0, culminating when Rasion Smith dragged the Ducks down the field on each carry and wide receiver Trevor Smith pulled a 25-yard touchdown pass from Newkirk. Smith’s reception was characterized by adjusting the ball in the air just before stepping into the end zone.
Ration Smith ran on a two-point conversion to give Gatesville an 8–7 lead, which Newkirk held in the third quarter when he connected to Lawson Mooney for a 12-yard scoring strike. In the score, Mooney delivered a quick strike that slipped past one Taylor defender and another to give Gatesville a 14–7 lead.
“It looked like a completely different team in the first half and the second half,” Hunter said.
The Hornets looked poised to hammer out another score and ease their lead in the second half of the third as they drove deep into Taylor’s territory. However, five yards he fumbled in the line and returned the ball to the Ducks.
The ensuing questionable roughing the passer penalty eventually led to Taylor’s score and a 14–14 draw. The Ducks scored again and midway through the fourth quarter he made it 21-14.
Then, after trading scoreless possessions in the fourth inning, the Hornets got the ball back and had a chance to tie.
Down fourth with just over a minute to play, Newkirk faced Long and tried to hit Trevor Smith in the end zone.
The Hornets quickly found the end zone, with Newkirk sprinting left and throwing a pass to senior Kyle Schaefer. Faced with a chance to kick an extra point to tie the game or go for the win, offensively his coordinator Jacob Hunter dialed Schaefer’s number again as New Kirk rolled to his right, ending his zone corner. , giving the Hornets his 22-. 21 leads.
Moving from wide receiver to A-back for the Hornets this season, Schaefer has the speed and size to make a frenzy among the offensive coaching staff. The senior had 24 yards where he had three catches and he recorded his two TDs – all in the second half.
“I challenged him in the first half. He answered,” Hunter said.
Down 22-21, the Ducks’ bid for a miraculous comeback was quickly taken away by Necessary, who pulled quarterback Ryan Valdez’s heave with 22 seconds left in the game.
“I saw that the quarterback was trying to throw deep and I needed to get over the top of the receiver. . “Then when I found it, the first person for me was Lawson (Mooney), and he was screaming as loud as he could and going crazy. At that moment, everything felt like a crazy dream, I couldn’t believe it happened.”
In addition to giving them a 1-0 start to the season, Necessary’s pick also paid for itself personally. A knee injury in the first quarter of last year’s season opener against Llano cost him his entire junior season.
“I am so happy to be back with all my friends and to have made that game even more special by capping it off with a game-sealing interception. made it even more special,” he said.
Gatesville recorded 3 sacks and 9 tackles by holding Taylor to just 87 yards of rushing offense and 216 yards of total offense. Tatum Taylor grabbed the Hornets’ third sack and forced a fumble, but Necessary, Thiele Alvarado and Corey Barnes added their own tackles for the loss. I recovered by fumbling.
Offensively, the Hornets had an offensive range of 357 yards. Newkirk completed 15 of his 30 passes for 141 yards. He found 6 different receivers. Trevor Smith had 37 yards on his five catches and he scored one, and Sean Aguilar had 53 yards on his three catches.
On top of Smith’s 159 yards rushing, Newkirk added 20 yards rushing and LJ Hall chipped 19 yards on the ground. For Smith, it was quite the debut.
“The scary thing is he still gets it. He’s young, but he’s a phenomenal kid,” said Hunter. “Right now he’s not very well known. But he’s coming soon.
The Hornets will be looking for their second win of the Hunter era as they welcome state-ranked Glenn Rose to McCammy Stadium on Friday. The Hornets have lost to Glen Rose in all of the past three seasons, including his 41-10 in 2021.