Prior to Friday night’s game, every 2012 contest for the Walnut Springs Hornets had been decided by at least 33 points.
Against host Cranfills Gap, however, the Hornets (3-3) needed a late touchdown to come away with a 62-58 victory. The deck was definitely stacked against the visitors.
“We had to overcome a lot in this game,” said coach Tim Trotter. “My starting center Adolfo Morales was out with a broken hand, my starting right end Trenton Trotter was out with a knee injury, during the game my left defensive end Carlos Lerma hurt his knee and (running back and linebacker Dillon) Rose went out early in the fourth quarter with a concussion. We just kept filling in people and playing hard; we managed to win.”
Trotter said Lerma probably has the best chance to play this week. Including JV, there are nine Hornets in the program injured right now.
“I want to credit my JV center Christian Lares, because he started at varsity center and did a really good job,” Trotter said. “I will pull up my JV quarterback Noel Chavez to start this week at either quarterback or end if we don’t get some of those guys back.”
As for the game itself, Walnut Springs fired out of the gate to lead 29-18 after the opening quarter.
“We were feeling pretty good about things at that point – then we just started making mistakes,” Trotter said.
On that note, Cranfills Gap scored touchdowns in the game on a 47-yard fumble return and a 79-yard kick return.
“We had chances to go up on them a few times, but an interception, a lost fumble for a touchdown and a kick return for a touchdown kept us from building a lead,” Trotter said.
Cranfills Gap struck back and won the second quarter 19-6.
“They were tough; they just lined up and ran at us,” Trotter said. “We were changing our defense nearly every play until finally we slowed them down and made them work.”
Walnut Springs won the third quarter 8-7 and scored the winning touchdown late to take the fourth quarter 19-14.
“With about two minutes left, Cranfills Gap had a chance to score to go up by nine, but their kid jumped on the ground a yard from the goal line so they could run the clock out. I called a timeout, and on the next play they fumbled the ball out of the end zone.
“We got it on (our) 20, drove down in four plays and scored. Then we held them, got the ball back and had to recover a fumble in our victory formation to finish it.”
The last score was a 21-yard pass from Zane Trotter to Tony Chavez (Trotter conversion pass to Oscar Ruiz).
“I told Zane to keep the ball on option right, but when he came around the corner he saw Tony wide open and pulled up and threw it,” the coach said.
Mike Garcia had his best game of the season with seven carries for 116 yards and a touchdown, 14 tackles and a 46-yard interception return touchdown. His offensive touchdown was a 45-yard run in the fourth quarter.
“Mike stepped up to run really good, especially with Dillon out of the game,” Trotter said. “Zane was tired after running a lot, so I started running Mike and the freshman (Carlos) Ramirez more. Those guys did a good job, and Wayne Heartsill really did a nice job of blocking.”
Quarterback Zane Trotter completed six of 10 passes for 178 yards with three touchdowns and an interception, ran nine times for 69 yards and two scores in addition to making 11 tackles.
“Zane has done a pretty good job passing this year,” the coach said. “Some dropped balls have hurt at times, but we’re starting to gel finally and that’s helped our passing to get him and the receivers on the same page.”
In just over three quarters of play, Rose ran seven times for 63 yards and a score, caught three passes for 84 yards and a touchdown, and made 17 tackles.
“Dillon was really effective when he was in there, especially when we ran sweep,” Trotter said. “He also had a lot of receiving yards.”
Tony Chavez caught two passes for 92 yards and two touchdowns, plus he made 13 tackles.
“Tony does a really good job,” Trotter said. “He’s very quiet, but he’s smart and is a good player. He in particular is now on the same page with Zane so he can make some big plays.”
Oscar Ruiz made 14 tackles, while Carlos Ramirez finished with 11 tackles and a fumble recovery.
“Oscar started the season late, but he’s big and physical to be able to help us hold up in the middle,” Trotter said. “He played well.”
The Hornets will now try to overcome their injury issues on homecoming, as they host Mount Calm on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
“Mount Calm will be really good in the passing game, so we have to be ready for that,” Trotter said. “Our mental mistakes with kids playing out of their normal positions led to some big plays for Cranfills Gap, and we need to try to eliminate that this week.”