Sep. 8—Gainesville improved to 2-1 on the season Thursday night with a 28-21 road win over Hillcrest in Dallas.
Head Coach Neil Searcy told the Register that it was far from an easy win for his football team. The offense took a while to get going, in part, because of trouble with bad snaps from center and the Leopards trailed 14-0 early in the third quarter.
"In the first half, I thought we played okay defensively. We gave 'em a short field to work on and they got a couple scores. Offensively, we were kind of trying to find ourselves and were a little sluggish," Searcy said. "Then, in the second half, we come out and have another bad snap and they recover it in the end zone for a touchdown, so we were down two scores."
Senior quarterback Cade Searcy and the offense shook off that miscue and overcame the slow start. 4A Gainesville racked up 28 second half points and were able to hold off 5A Hillcrest, which fell to 1-2 on the year.
"(Cade) takes a lot on his shoulders ... he stepped up and played well; everybody on offense offensive line stepped up and played better. LaDanian White, our running back, ran the ball a lot better in the second half," the coach said.
The win was especially gratifying after a tough 21-20 home loss last week to Vernon, in which a late, potentially game-winning touchdown got called back.
"I was pleased with my kids' effort in the second half. I think we grew as a as a football team," the coach said. "We learned that we can be down in the game, but we're good enough to be able to overcome that kind of adversity and be able to come back in a football game and get a win."
The Leopards won't see home again until the end of September. They will be at 5A Denton next Friday, facing big, talented offensive and defensive lines that feature Stanford recruit Hayden Gunter.
"It'll be another challenge for us, playing another 5A school, but we look forward to the opportunity and the challenge.
Searcy doesn't worry about being away from the home crowd; rather, he sees three straight games on the road as an opportunity for growth.
"We're going have to be able to play on the road in district. Our goal is to make the playoffs and we'll be on the road, so it's just part of it," Searcy said. "Last night was our first road trip and I thought they handled it well and responded well."