The Pony Express

Gaither Silences Sickles in 28-2 Win

Photo+Courtesy+of+Adrian+Alvarez+%28%40gaither.sports+on+Instagram%29
Photo Courtesy of Adrian Alvarez (@gaither.sports on Instagram)

Photo Courtesy of Adrian Alvarez (@gaither.sports on Instagram)

Photo Courtesy of Adrian Alvarez (@gaither.sports on Instagram)

Rachel Slay, Staff Writer

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Last night, the Gaither Cowboys reclaimed their place at third in 7A District 8 after defeating the Sickles Gryphons, 28-2. Sickles was favored to win heading into their senior night game but Gaither, coming off a tough loss against Wiregrass Ranch, had another thing in mind.

The Cowboys played an outstanding game on both sides of the ball, collecting a total of 231 offensive yards and 69 total defensive yards on three interception returns.

Senior Shaye Scott was the first to score, helped by quarterback Tony Bartalo leading the offense to the red zone. Sickles managed to make it into field goal range but were unable to put points on the board and ended the first quarter down by seven.

Halfway through the second quarter, Gaither got bold in a fourth-and-long situation and faked the punt. Junior linebacker Robert Zanders carried the ball 21 yards for a first down and more before being tackled at the Sickles 12-yard line. The Cowboys collected another first down and Bartalo rushed two yards for the second TD of the game.

Gaither’s offense was quick to get back on the field thanks to Zanders recovering a Gryphon fumble at the 9-yard line. Scott passed to senior receiver Adrian Higgins for another TD. The half closed with Gaither up 0-21.

After a quiet third quarter, sophomore cornerback Jordan Oladokun intercepted a Gryphon pass late in the fourth and ran 47 yards for a TD. The Cowboys were leading by 26 with 2:58 left in the game. Sickles’ final attempt to score was shut down by Gaither’s aggressive goal-line defense. Their only points came from a wild snap flying over Hunter Mintzer’s head as Gaither prepared to punt, resulting in a safety.

“Coming off a tough loss, we needed a big bounce-back win to keep our playoff hopes alive. Last night showed what we are capable of as a team and what we can do moving forward to keep winning ball games,” said Bartalo. Bartalo is the second leading passer in the district with 825 total yards, eight TDs and only two interceptions in his eight games played.

The Cowboys will get a bye week before hosting the Wharton Wildcats (1-7) on Oct. 26 for their last home game of the season.

Defensive Highlights: Brysen Roth, senior LB, interception, 10 total tackles. Jordan Oladokun, sophomore CB, interception returned for TD. Hunter Mintzer, junior SS, interception, 7 total tackles.

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Gaither Silences Sickles in 28-2 Win