Nothing's sure for Gonzales-Yoakum victor
BY MIKE FORMAN - MFORMAN@VICAD.COM
Sept. 22, 2011 at 4:22 a.m.
Updated Sept. 23, 2011 at 4:23 a.m.
Yoakum Bulldogs at Gonzales Apaches
Last year: Gonzales, 41-16.
Notes: Yoakum (3-1) and Gonzales (4-0) open District 28-3A play and square off for the 14th consecutive season. Yoakum has an 8-5 edge during that span. Gonzales coach Ricky Lock is 2-0 against Yoakum. Gonzales is 4-0 for the second consecutive season. Yoakum is off to its best start since 2003. Gonzales leads the district in team defense, yielding an average of 138.3 yards per game. Gonzales' Cecil Johnson has rushed for a district-leading 627 yards and nine touchdowns, and Jon Anthony Casares has an area-leading five interceptions. Yoakum's Jeff Harrison has passed for 336 yards and four touchdowns.
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Nothing is guaranteed for the winner of Friday's District 28-3A opener between Yoakum and Gonzales.
Gonzales captured a 41-16 decision last season, but failed to make the playoffs.
But the team leaving Apache Stadium in Gonzales with a win will be much better positioned for a postseason run.
"It's a big game for both teams," said Yoakum coach Brent Kornegay. "A win puts you in the driver's seat. Our district is so competitive you need every win you can get."
The Apaches come into the game with a 4-0 record for the second consecutive season.
Gonzales has rushed for a district-leading 1,220 yards and is leading the district in team defense, yielding an average of 138.3 yards per game.
"We haven't reached our potential yet," said Gonzales coach Ricky Lock. "We've improved in a lot of areas. We really didn't know what we were going to have. We knew we would have a good offensive line back. We started three freshmen last year and they've all improved.
"We had nine starters back on defense so we knew our defense would be pretty good again."
Yoakum entered district play at 1-3 last season, but brings 3-1 record into the game.
"It's just a total turnaround," Kornegay said. "It's what happens when you have a little bit of consistency. We're not really big. I can't say enough about what the kids have done."
The Bulldogs' improvement has been fueled by a plus-8 turnover margin.
"Obviously that's a key," Kornegay said. "Defensively, we're playing much better. That has a lot to do with our turnover ratio. We're not putting our defense in a position where they have to stop drives that begin deep in our territory."
Yoakum suffered a scare when running back Andrew Jimenez was hurt in last week's 21-13 win over Edna.
But Jimenez, who has rushed for 231 yards and four touchdowns, was diagnosed with a deep thigh bruise and Kornegay said his status is "day to day."
Gonzales has gone 5-1 at Apache Stadium since Lock returned as head coach last season and looks to continue its success at home.
"You want to get off to a good start," Lock said. "You don't want to start behind the 8-ball. You want to control your own destiny and you can when you win."