Mineral Wells Area News

Gordon marches past Santa Anna

Gordon marches past Santa Anna
October 02
10:14 2023


Special to Mineral Wells Area News

Gordon moves to 5-0 on the season after defeating Santa Anna

GORDON – An army might not have helped Santa Anna on Friday night. Gordon Longhorns’ troops marched through the visitors with ease, taking a 56-8 win on Homecoming Night. The game ended at halftime – taking just over an hour to complete the win.

Ranked No. 1 in Texas six sixman football’s Class 1A-Div. I, Gordon improved to 5-0. Now through with its non-district slate, Gordon gears up for its five Region III-District 9 games, beginning at Gorman (1-4) this Friday.

The Mountaineers (2-4) were their own worst enemies from the outset, declining to punt on fourth downs despite being pinned on their end of the field by the fast and aggressive Longhorns defense. That resulted in short fields and easy scores for the Gordon offensive juggernaut.

Facing fourth-and-12 from its own 10 on the game’s first possession, Santa Anna tried to convert but its run attempt was stuffed. The Longhorns offense needed one play from the Mountaineers’ 13, a pitch from Whit Fuller to Riley Reed, to score. Gordon was quickly up 8-0 after kicker Juan Cabrera’s two-point conversion kick.

That set the tone for what would come. Gordon scored two more times in the first quarter for a 24-0 lead before adding another 32 points, including a safety, in the second quarter. Only a 31-yard touchdown pass with 7.4 seconds left, coming against Gordon defensive reserves and backups, prevented the shutout.

The victory makes it 15 straight regular season games in which the Horns have ended a game via sixman football’s 45-point rule. Only once this season have the Horns had to play into the third quarter.

Head Coach Mike Reed said he is pleased with his team’s execution and mindset halfway through the 2023 schedule, a group still motivated by its lone loss last season in the third round of the playoffs to Abbott. 

He said he doesn’t worry about his players looking too far ahead or having to manage expectations.

“These kids know what they want and they know who they have to go through to get to where they want. It’s just next team up and next business at hand,” Reed said. “The coaching staff, I think, they have taken the challenge and are meeting expectations of not just themselves but of the community and the state. They are already top coaches in their craft and in their field.”

As good as Gordon has been this season, Reed said he saw a different level of play in their last game two weeks ago.

Payden Rust was crowned Gordon High School’s 2023 Homecoming King and Payton Reed was crowned 2023 Homecoming Queen.

“I think last (game, a 58-8 win at Waco Live Oak Classical) was kind of the first week where I felt like on the offensive side of the ball we started stacking the ball,” Reed said. “We were firing on different cylinders. We already were executing pretty good, but I felt like we took a little step forward on that.”

The Horns’ offense tends to key off its defense, which has allowed just 28 points in five games.

“Defensively I am proud of where we have been at most of the year and what they are doing, and the effort,” Reed said. “We are really deep in the defensive part, rotating a lot of kids in and competing for positions has helped in practice. I am pleased with where we are at. We are not behind, or ahead, I am just pleased with where we are at.”

It is not uncommon for sixman teams to be built around one or two key players. The problem with that is a season can be wrecked if one of those players is injured. Gordon is built different. The Horns have depth, and they don’t have to rely on a lot of players playing both ways, which helps reduce injury risk. Gordon has avoided injuries so far, but this team has a lot of weapons so that an injury or two should not slow them down.

The Horns might not get truly challenged until the second round of the playoffs, similar to last season when they outlasted Blum in the second round. Reed said the team focuses weekly on conditioning to help guard against injury and prepare the players for the road ahead and the anticipated playoff push.

“On Wednesday we didn’t anything football-related,” Reed said. “Everything was 90 minutes of pure conditioning from weight room, to sleds, to sprint, to agility to just see how tired we could make them and push them.”

Gordon did a lot of pushing on Friday. The Horns ran just 21 offensive plays on the night, racking up 217 total yards, limited by the fact the offense had short fields most of the night. All but 15 of Gordon’s yards were on the ground.

The Horns had five rushing touchdowns – two from Riley Reed, including one on a 55-yard run – and one each from Stryker Reed, Brayden Walters and Fuller. Gordon quarterback Noah Kostiha’s one pass completion on four attempts went for a 15-yard score to Aiden Shank.

Things went so well for Gordon that even its one scoreless offensive possession quickly tuned into 10 points. Late in the first quarter, Gordon took over on downs at the Mountaineers’ 15. A third-down illegal procedure penalty pushed the Horns back. Riley Reed’s 20-yard run to the end zone was negated by a holding call. Now 30 yards out, Gordon moved to the 17 on third down, and then turned the ball over to Santa Anna after Reed’s fourth-and-goal run was stopped at the 2.

On the Mountaineers’ next play Kaden Crowe knifed his way into the backfield and tackled the ball carrier in the end zone for a two-point safety and a 26-0 Gordon lead. Santa Anna’s bouncing kickoff was returned to its 10 yard line. Walters made his scoring run on the next play for a 34-0 lead early in the second quarter.

Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. in the district opener Friday at Gorman

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