By Jim Irish
Photos by Jim Irish
Turnovers in football are a curse. Cedar Creek committed five miscues in a season-opening loss to Gonzales 55-17 at Memorial Stadium on Friday.
The loss was Cedar Creek’s 16th consecutive dating to the 2021 season.
Cedar Creek coach Josh Thomas had spoken before the season about the need to eliminate turnovers, even stating “one is too many.”
After scoring on the opening possession of the non-district game, Gonzales exploited two Cedar Creek turnovers.
The Apaches recovered a fumble by Cedar Creek’s Chris Nino on a kick return in the first quarter and scored on a short run by Rocky Gallegos.
Cedar Creek running back Anthony Scott fumbled — his first of two — in the second quarter deep in the Eagles’ territory.
"Anytime you turn the ball over, it's going to lead to something bad taking place."
-- Cedar Creek coach Josh Thomas on the consequences of turnovers
After the turnover, Gonzales scored on a 15-yard burst by Gallegos to increase the lead to 24-2 at the 6:54 mark in the second quarter.
“Anytime you turn the ball over, it’s going to lead to something bad taking place,” Thomas said. “We have some things to clean up, turnovers being one and being more disciplined.”
Cedar Creek generated little offense, finishing with minus-1 yard rushing and 109 yards passing. K’Veahon Houston, Cedar Creek’s starter at running back, is expected to miss several games after having surgery during the summer. Houston’s replacements were unable to get untracked.
Gonzales head coach Joseph Rivera, a former defensive coordinator at Corsicana, emphasizes defense.
“That’s what I want to hang our hat on,” Rivera said. “We’re upset we gave up (17) points. We want to set that tone defensively.”
Gonzales quarterback Travis Malveaux set the tone offensively, rushing for 109 yards and passing for 171 yards. Malveaux, a sophomore, displayed quickness and elusiveness. Several times, he appeared to be in the grasp of Cedar Creek defenders but escaped.
"He makes play that you don't see many sophomores make."
-- Gonzales coach Joseph Rivera describing quarterback Travis Malveaux
Rivera was impressed on one escape by Malveaux.
“He spun off his backside, and it may have been only a 4- or 5-yard gain instead of a 7- or 8-yard loss on a sack,” Rivera said. “He makes plays that you don’t see many sophomores make.”
Malveaux tossed a 34-yard touchdown pass to Davonte Smith in the first quarter. He connected with Dakota Dubose on a 24-yard touchdown in the third quarter.
Gonzales, which defeated Cedar Creek 34-16 in the opener last season, had multiple weapons. Gallegos scored on touchdown runs of 3, 15, and 47 yards to finish with 132 on 11 carries.
David Clack, another Gonzales running back, scored on runs of 2 and 9 yards.
Cedar Creek staring quarterback Blaze Orr completed 5-of-11 passes for 29 yards before exiting the contest in the third quarter after injuring his shoulder on a roughing-the-passer penalty.
“Just for precaution, we took him out,” Thomas said. “We’ll start a rehab plan and hopefully get him back next week.”
Backup Dillon Dubee was 5-of-14 with a 20-yard touchdown pass to Roy Rose, who broke a tackle to reach the end zone. He also had one interception and a fumble.
“He had some some confidence from his punts and then came in and made some plays,” Thomas said about Dubee. “It’s good to see you two quarterbacks on your roster.”
Dubee excelled on punts, averaging 44 yards on five punts.
Cedar Creek’s Tristan Cornwall picked up a blocked extra-point kick and returned it almost the length of the field for a two-point touchback in the first quarter.
Cedar Creek defender Ivan Lopez intercepted a Malveaux pass in the second quarter and returned it 78 yards to the seven-yard line. The Eagles picked up three points on a 34-yard field goal by David Sanchez.
Shaking off his kickoff fumble, Nino weaved through traffic and scored on a 43-yard punt return at the 6:10 mark in the third quarter.
Cedar Creek plays host to Southside (0-1) in a non-district game at Memorial Stadium on Friday.
Jim Irish is a freelance writer in Bastrop, Texas