CHINA SPRING, Texas — The Gatesville Hornets brought their unblemished record on the road to face the 5-2 China Spring Cougars at Cougar Stadium, but it seems they couldn’t shake the dark cloud of the UIL investigation looming over them.
Behind an outstanding defensive performance and explosive offensive plays, the Cougars were able to deliver the Hornets their first loss of the season, 43-16.
Gatesville came out hot on the opening drive of the game and made their way into the red zone quickly. But back-to-back penalties forced the Hornets to settle for a field goal, as they took a 3-0 lead. The lead would turn out to be the only one the Hornets would have throughout the night, as China Spring took control.
The Hornets defense couldn’t find an answer for China Spring WR K J Peoples. Peoples scored the first two touchdowns for the Cougars. China Spring was able to take a 14-3 lead with 11:26 in the second quarter after Peoples’ touchdown plays.
Defense Wins Out
The Cougars defense forced the Hornets into a three-and-out, then drove down the field in a methodical manner, capping the drive off with a Steven Russo touchdown reception for a 21-3 lead with 8:13 in the second quarter.
Again, the Cougars defense held up their end of the bargain forcing the Hornets to punt, but Gatesville executed a picture perfect 64-yard punt. The punt pinned the Cougars at their own 1-yard line.
China Spring was able to drive 99 yards in under six minutes and cap the drive off with a Tyrick James touchdown run. The Cougars went into halftime with a 28-3 lead.
The second half began as a defensive struggle. With both teams forcing each other’s offenses into two three-and-outs. The Hornets would finally make their way into the end zone with a Costas four-yard touchdown run with 1:37 left in the third quarter.
Gatesville seemed to be finding their groove as Zach Mueller scored on a 1-yard touchdown run, cutting the lead to 28-16 China Spring. The Cougars offense was finally able to get established in the second half and James was able to get in for another China Spring touchdown and after a two-point conversion, the Cougars led 36-16.
Gatesville seemed to be looking for another counter punch, but quarterback Jett Truss was intercepted in the end zone and China Spring was able to return the pick 85 yards before being forced out of bounds.
The Cougars took their time and ran the clock down as much as possible on the possession to help hold onto the lead and with 1:34 left in the game. They gave the ball to their stud Tyrick James and he took the ball seven yards for his third touchdown of the night and sealed the victory for China Spring 43-16.
The district 13-4A race is very interesting, as Gatesville still has to face La Vega and Liberty Hill. These two teams both won big tonight and if Gatesville doesn’t win out they could be eliminated from the playoff picture.
Next week Gatesville (7-1,2-1) will be on the road again as they travel to La Vega (8-0,3-0), while China Spring (6-2,2-1) will be on the road at Liberty Hill (4-2,1-1). La Vega currently sits atop the district standings followed by China Spring, Gatesville, and Liberty Hill.
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