GORDON – It was more than Homecoming Night in Gordon on Friday. It was also a bit of Revenge Night as the Longhorns dished out a 53-6 win over the Zephyr Bulldogs.
Before this season, Gordon's football fortunes were down several years. Last year Gordon had just three cheerleaders and 13 players. The Longhorns Stadium stands were largely empty for home games as the Longhorns finished 4-6 under first-year head coach Mike Reed, a former Gordon player and assistant coach with much success in his previous coaching stops.
Exactly one year ago Zephyr hosted the Longhorns in their homecoming game, a game the Bulldogs won, 84-64.
"We were their homecoming last year, and we took it personal," said Gordon's second-year head coach Mike Reed. "That is why we scheduled them this year for our homecoming. We felt like if that's how they feel about us, let's work 365 days and let's make them our homecoming. There's a lot of pride in this community and we take that stuff personal. If you feel like we need to be your homecoming, we take that as a slap to our face. We put a lot into this."
A lot can change quickly in sixman football from year to year. It certainly has for Gordon, as Friday night showed. A packed stadium, a battalion of cheerleaders along the track, a lot of players suited up and a lot of optimism as Gordon now stands at 5-1, having now reeled off five straight wins after an opening-season loss.
GORDON GALLERY: 'Horns blow by Bulldogs on Homecoming Night
It was a happy Homecoming Night in Gordon on Friday as the Longhorns blew past the Zephyr Bulldogs, 53-6, crowned this year's king and queen, and welcomed back its 1999 state championship team. Check out this gallery of photos from the game and festivities.
On Friday night, Gordon racked up 38 points in the first quarter, scoring on drives short and long, and with defense and special teams as well as a big-play offense. It allowed both teams to pull starters in the second quarter and put in less-experienced players before the game ended at halftime via the sixman 45-point mercy rule.
"You can kind of hope that the situation works itself out that way," Reed said. "We didn't have a JV game last night and so one of the things that you hope the guy is able to do on the other sideline is get some of his starters out so you can play some of your guys and they can develop, too. That shows a lot of class for him on the other sideline to get some of his guys in so we can get ours in."
It was hard to see much Gordon did wrong, but the eyes of Coach Reed found a few things he wants his players to improve on. He said defensively some players didn't see and read the Bulldogs offense correctly at times.
"That's not acceptable," Reed said. "That is not what got us to where we are right now, so we will hammer them on that on Monday pretty hard and make sure their eyes are where they need to be."
What he especially liked was how the defense performed on takeaways.
"We were unselfish and looked to turn and go upfield and block someone for our teammates," Reed stated. "That is a lot of the things that we have been trying to clean up as a team. I feel like our staff has done a good job of teaching and leading them the right way."
He said hard work and dedication from the players and staff is paying off and has the team in good position. The Longhorns host Morgan on Friday in their last non-district tilt before getting a bye week and then entering their stretch of three district games at Bluffdale, then home for Gustine and Strawn.
"We just need to stay healthy, being a Division II team and having low numbers," said Reed. "We need to stay and healthy and continue to push through week by week and not look down the road. It's kind of easy to look down the road but we can't do that. When we step foot on the field we are focused on us, and we were focused on Zephyr."
Sophomore Hoss Rouse was the first to find the checkered end zone on a 4-yard pitch to pay dirt at the 8:19 mark of the opening quarter.
Zephyr's first possession saw a fumble the Bulldogs were able to recover. But senior defensive back Charles Mowles picked off a pass two pays later – and on the next play was rewarded as he hauled in a long pass from Rouse that sailed down the Gordon sideline. Mowles raced to the end zone and Gordon had a 16-0 lead less than halfway through the period.
The Bulldogs punted on its next possession, pinning Gordon back at its 8-yard line. No problem for the Longhorns. On first down sophomore Morgan Mahan accepted a toss and raced 72 yards to put Gordon up 18-0 with 4:11 remaining in the first quarter.
A couple of minutes later, Mahan was in the end zone once again as the recipient of a 16-yard lateral from senior Brandon Mahan for a 24-0 Gordon lead.
With two offensive scores under his belt, Mahan decided to chalk up a defensive TD, snaring an interception and romping 40 yards back into the end zone. A successful point-after attempt put Gordon up 32-0. Mahan registered two touchdowns in the span of 15 seconds off the game clock.
Brandon Mahan didn't want Morgan getting all the glory, so he intercepted a pass in the end zone, kept his feet, spun around and raced 80 yards in the opposite direction for Gordon's last score of the first quarter.
On Gordon's first play from scrimmage in the second quarter, Brandon Mahan ripped off a 35-yard TD for a 46-0 lead.
Senior Tyler Wyatt caped off Gordon's scoring with a 4-yard score that with a one-point conversion made it 53-0.
With the second quarter, and ultimately the game, winding down Zephyr was set up with a short field and capitalized with a 10-yard score as time expired. Their extra-point effort was stopped for the final 53-6 margin.
Zephyr dropped to 1-5 on the season.