UPDATE: Hornets Win 37-34 in overtime.
GATESVILLE (November 30, 2012)--Busloads of students, parents and fans packed up and headed west early Friday afternoon from Gatesville bound for Abilene and a showdown with the Monahans Lobos in the third round of the 3-A high school football playoffs.
The entire football team accompanied by the Hornets Band Drum Line cruised the halls of the high school earlier in the day Friday for an impromptu pep rally.
Gatesville police escorted the team buses out of town and busses filled with parents and students followed just after 2 p.m.
The Hornets, who had been picked to finish in the middle of their district, finished the year 10-0 and have survived the first two rounds of playoffs having defeated Alvarado and Vernon to advance to the 3A Regional Playoff Game.
Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m. at Shotwell Stadium in Abilene.
For Gatesville, it's the first trip to the regional round since 2000 when the Hornets took a state title.
Monahans (8-4) is no stranger to the football postseason, having been there the past seven seasons, including a trip to the state semifinals in 2010.
Champions from District 4-3A, the Loboes have advanced to the third round after victories over Pecos in bi-district and previously undefeated Shallowater last week.
Gatesville has enjoyed a noticeable crowd advantage so far in the playoffs, and head coach Kyle Cooper said that will be the case Friday night.
"We have had great fan support and community support," he said.
"That started at the beginning of the season but has really intensified in the playoffs. Our fans have turned road games into home games."
The winner of Friday's Gatesville-Monahans game will advance to next week's 3A state quarterfinals to face the winner of Midland Greenwood (9-3) and Graham (11-1).