In his mind, Gonzalo Hernandez hatched the perfect plan to celebrate Tivy’s 49-0 shutout over Uvalde on Friday night at Antler Stadium. He was going to give his defensive coordinator, Jeremy Hickman, a gatorade bath.
The senior defensive end enlisted teammates Dominic Jefferson and Logan Green to help him carry the cooler. But before they could reach their coach, other teammates convinced them that this was probably a bad idea — Hickman would likely be irritated if he was covered in cold liquid in 46-degree temperatures.
“Everyone also said that if we do it than he might get sick,” Hernandez said.
The debate whether or not to dump Gatorade over Hickman’s head was definitely the biggest quandary for Tivy’s defenders on Friday night, because Uvalde’s offense didn’t give them any issues. The Antlers had been close to earning a shutout on two occasions this season, with Del Rio and Kennedy both scoring garbage touchdowns late in the fourth quarter. On Friday, they easily achieved that milestone, not even permitting the Coyotes to reach the red zone.
“The kids did a great job of executing our game plan,” said Hickman, who confirmed to the Kerrville Daily Times he wouldn’t have been mad if his players gave him a gatorade bath. “We put some things together over the off-week and they executed it and it led to some turnovers. The execution and physical play was impressive to watch.”
In a high school football landscape where defenses have almost become an afterthought, Tivy’s defense has continued to impress this season. The Antlers are allowing 14.8 points per game, 266 yards per game and 5.4 yards per passing attempt, while forcing nine turnovers.
Of course, skeptics will wonder how the Antlers will fare when they face a potent offense. Well, they held Boerne Champion to 19 points on Sept. 20, and the Chargers have averaged 42.8 points in their five other games. My guess, then, is that Tivy’s defense, if relatively healthy, will give the Antlers a chance to make a deep postseason run.
Still skeptical? Here’s a look at five of the best defenses in program history. Tivy’s current squad compares favorably to all of them.
Record: 10-3 (lost to Calallen in the regional semifnials)
Scoring defense: 20.4 points per game
Total defense: 184 yards per game
Total turnovers forced: 27
Record: 12-3 (lost to Dayton in the state semifinals)
Scoring defense: 25.7 points per game (this came against perhaps the toughest schedule in Tivy history. The Anters played state powers Madison, Steele, Clemens and Wagner).
Total defense: 387.8 yards per game
Total turnovers forced: 17
Record: 13-1 (lost to Gregory-Portland in the state quarterfinals)
Scoring defense: 11.3 points per game
Total defense: 205.2 yards per game.
Record: 13-1 (lost to West Orange-Stark in the state semifinals)
Scoring defense: 17.1 points per game.
Record: 11-2 (lost to West Orange-Stark in the state semifinals)
Scoring defense: 11.5 points per game