Azle surprised some area high school football fans by jumping out at 3-0 start, but the Hornets got a rude awaking two weeks ago when they started District 5-4A play with a 41-point loss to pre-season Top 10 pick Denton Guyer.
While some thought the Hornets might have met their challenge, coach Devon Dorris team showed what it was made of by rebounding last week with a 27-7 victory over Wichita Falls at home.
"It's always good to find out what kind of team you have after you get kicked in the teeth," Dorris said. "Our kids responded pretty well and it's hard to say the second district game was a must-win game, but it really was."
Once again this week, the Hornets (4-1, 1-1) find themselves in another big game with possible playoff implications on the line when they travel to White Settlement Brewer (4-1, 1-1).
"Brewer is probably our biggest rivalry since we lost [6-4A] Boswell and [3A] Springtown," Dorris said. "They're going to come out and play their best game of the year against us and we're going to try and do the same. It's definitely an important game, but not necessarily a must-win."
Defensively the Hornets bounced back from giving up 454 yards to Guyer to just over 200 to Wichita Falls, including just 17 on the ground.
"I've been pleased with the defensive effort all year," Dorris said. "Our linebackers and secondary have been our strength, but this week the defensive line put a lot of pressure on their quarterback. That says a lot about our kids after getting knocked down time and time again the prior week."
Offensively it was Hunter McDonald who led the way once gain this week picking up 156 yards on 26 carries and one score.
"Hunter played well and I can't say enough good about him," Dorris said. "Teams know who's going to get the ball, the running back or quarterback, and he played well and we expect well he will play well rest of district and give us a shot to be in the playoffs."
This week will provide a special game for McDonald because the senior attended Brewer as a freshman and sophomore.
"I actually haven't thought about it," McDonald said. "It's just another game we have to win and prove that were the real deal. It's a must win, but they all are. If we want to show we're a playoff team we need to step up."
McDonalds attributes his and the team's success to the coaches and working hard.
"The key has been doing what the coaches say and having everyone on the team working together," said McDonald, who was up at 4:30 every morning to work out. "I'm not the only weapon we have, the line has stepped up and made it easy for me and Corbyn [Koiner, quarterback] to get yards, and we have some good receivers too so they have to respect the passing game.
"We just have to go in each week with the motivation that it's us against everyone else."
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