When the Walnut Springs Hornets head to Hico each year in late August, coach Tim Trotter knows it’s going to be difficult.
Competing in the Hico Six-Man Super Saturday event, Walnut Springs seems to face a powerhouse every time. This year it was the Jonesboro Eagles, ranked No. 15 by sixmanfootball.com. The Eagles looked the part, as they soared on both sides of the ball in a 53-6 victory Saturday, Aug. 31 that ended at halftime.
“They always get the top teams in the state here, so we expect it to be tough,” Trotter said. “We’re a young team and our practices have had just a few guys on some days. I just think we’re behind everybody else right now and not executing like we ought to, but in a few weeks I think we’ll be much better off.”
On a positive note, Trotter recently had three new players join the team. Although they didn’t play Saturday, he now has 13 Hornets on the roster.
Turnovers did the Hornets in against Jonesboro. Beyond two interceptions and two lost fumbles, they turned the ball over on downs twice and also allowed Jonesboro to recover a short kickoff.
“Carlos (Ramirez) just got frustrated and put the ball up in the air a few times,” Trotter said of the interceptions. “He’s a real good football player. He’ll just have to stay focused out there.”
Down 15-0, Walnut Springs managed to get its lone defensive stop of the first half. After a tackle for loss by Oscar Ruiz, Seth Rodriquez made a tackle for loss on fourth down.
“We’ll get Oscar to keep working on his conditioning, but he’s going to be hard for teams to deal with,” Trotter said of his biggest player.
Setting up shop at the Eagle 36, Ramirez went deep on second down and Tony Chavez made an acrobatic 28-yard catch in double coverage.
“We can do a lot of that in the future,” Trotter said of the deep pass to Chavez.
Two plays later, Ruiz powered his way for a six-yard gain down to the Eagle 1. That enabled Ramirez to head right and cross the goal line (6-15, Ruiz kick failed).
“Oscar can move the ball pretty well for tough yards because he runs hard and he’s so big,” Trotter said. “It put us in good position.”
Although the Hornets couldn’t get going offensively in the second half, Rodriquez was active defensively with two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and 0.5 tackles for loss.
“Seth is so fast to be able to get through the line before they can react,” Trotter said of the fumble recovery.
Ramon Jacquez shared the aforementioned tackle for loss and made a number of other sound tackles.
“This is Ramon’s first year for varsity and I think he’ll do a good job for us,” Trotter said.
With the contest long since decided, Ramirez kept battling and was able to bat down a conversion pass late in the half.
“Carlos did a nice job there,” the coach said.
The Hornets return to the field Friday, Sept. 6 in Iredell for a 7:30 p.m. contest.
“We all need to improve,” Trotter said. “Getting in better shape is the main thing. We’re going to be okay. I know the boys are discouraged, but I’m not because it’s early and I believe we’ll get there.”