Jett Truss had played sparingly at quarterback for Gatesville, but the sophomore came through in a big way when his number was called Friday night.
After starting quarterback Jeff Speer went out with a second-quarter ankle injury, Truss ran for three second-half touchdowns to lift Gatesville to a 32-14 road win over Robinson to clinch a Class 4A Division I playoff spot.
Truss is usually a starting defensive end for the Hornets (4-5, 3-1) but he showed he could play on the offensive side of the ball.
“Obviously a Jeff Speer is a big deal and I’m very proud of what Jett Truss did,” Gatesville coach Kyle Cooper said. “Jett has stepped up throughout the year on the defensive side. He didn’t blink an eye and took control and got it done.”
Gatesville also got big games from Alex Thompson with 113 yards rushing and Dakota Vernon with 84 yards rushing and a touchdown. Gatesville’s defense was superb as it limited the Rockets to 256 yards total offense and forced a pair of big turnovers.
After taking a 13-7 halftime lead against the Rockets (1-8, 1-3), the Hornets’ defense came through when Matthew Bell intercepted a Chase Allison pass at the Rockets’ 7.
Truss ran for a 1-yard touchdown to give the Hornets a 19-7 edge.
The Rockets answered with a 77-yard drive that ended with Allison’s 7-yard touchdown pass to Braxton Ashcraft to cut Gatesville’s lead to 19-14 with 1:23 remaining in the third quarter.
But Gatesville recovered Robinson’s onside kick at the Rockets’ 48 and moved for the touchdown on Truss’ 1-yard run.
Zach Mueller stopped a Robinson scoring threat when he broke up a pass in the end zone. Gatesville sealed the win when Truss ended a 77-yard drive with a 6-yard touchdown run.
“When you’ve got weather like this you’ve got to grind it out when you need it,” Cooper said. “We’ve got the big guys up front and a tight end and a fullback who have helped our running game come far.”
Gatesville controlled the first quarter as it kept the ball all but four plays.
The Hornets moved 65 yards on their first possession as they picked up two first downs before Vernon ran around left end for a 34-yard touchdown for the game’s first score.
But the Rockets got a break in the second quarter when Gatesville’s punt snap sailed high. Robinson got possession at the Hornets’ 32 and it took only two plays to score.
Isaiah Houston peeled off 18 yards and then romped across the goal for a 14-yard score to tie the game at 7-7 with 8:24 left in the second quarter.
After Speer limped off the field early in the second quarter, Truss took over and led the Hornets to two first-half field goals.
The Hornets moved 65 yards to the Robinson 3 before Truss fumbled a snap for a 7-yard loss. David Saldivar drilled a 27-yard field goal to give the Hornets a 10-7 lead with 2:39 left in the second quarter.
After Houston fumbled, the Hornets got the ball again at Robinson’s 30 with 1:48 left in the first half.
The Hornets couldn’t get a first down but Saldivar nailed a 42-yard field goal for a 13-7 edge with 1:01 remaining in the first half.