GATESVILLE, Texas — The Gatesville Hornets managed to sneak into the playoffs as the fourth place team in District 9-4A II in 2021. This year, they are looking to build on that playoff spot under new leadership.
During the offseason, Gatesville promoted assistant coach Aaron Hunter to the role of head coach, replacing Luke Howard, who resigned in December.
"Coach Howard did a heck of a job when he was here, getting the foundation set," Hunter said. "Now we're ready to continue to build on the foundation that we laid the last two or three years."
Hunter said the continuity created by his hire has made the transition far more smooth than it would have been otherwise. A large majority of the players already had a strong relationship with him when he took on his new role.
"Even whenever he was an assistant coach, he was still leading the team," senior wide receiver Kason Herbelin said. "He always brought tons and tons of energy. He's been super pumped about this year. He's very thankful for the position he's got, and he's ready to go win some gold footballs."
After going 0-10 in 2019, the Hornets have put together two straight postseason runs. This year, their goal is to make it past the first round.
"We know how it feels [to make the playoffs] now," senior defensive end Lucas Garcia said. "But it left a bitter taste in our mouths. We're not satisfied at all. We're gonna go up and make it deeper in the playoffs each year. That's our goal."
Howard will lead a team that returns 14 starters from the 2021 squad, seven on each side of the ball.
One thing is working in the Hornets' favor: Carthage, the team that knocked them out of the playoffs each of the last two seasons, moved out from Gatesville's region in the latest round of realignment. China Spring, the reigning state champion, also moved out of the Hornets' district.
2022 FOOTBALL SCHEDULE:
8/26 at Taylor 7:30
9/2 vs Glen Rose 7:30
9/9 at McGregor 7:30
9/16 at Mexia 7:30
9/23 vs Godley 7:00
9/30 at Mineral Wells 7:00
10/7 vs Waco Connally* 7:00
10/14 at Salado* 7:00
10/21 vs Madisonville* 7:00
10/28 at Robinson* 7:00
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