Cowboys Fall to Hawks in Defensive Showdown


Rachel Slay

Kobe McCloud and the Gaither defense line up on second down.

Rachel Slay, Editor-in-Chief

Gaither Cowboys (9-1), ranked fifth in Class 6A, hosted the Armwood Hawks (9-1), ranked sixth in Class 7A, at Death Valley Stadium in what students and players called the “County Championship.”  The Cowboys collected their first loss in the final game of the regular season with a score of 0-14.  

It was a defensive battle through and through. Gaither had no sustained offense all night and Armwood didn’t score an offensive touchdown until the third quarter when quarterback Cam’ron Ransom carried the ball 14 yards into the endzone.  

In the second quarter, Ransom got swallowed up in the pocket and was picked off by defensive end Mario Eugenio.  Armwood’s EJ Perry was hungry for a turnover of his own and recovered a fumble by Tony Bartalo for a 37-yard TD.  

Gaither head coach Kirk Karsen said that his defense gave “state championship effort.”  

“If they play like that the rest of the season, we won’t lose a game,” Karsen said. 

The second half was riddled with turnovers on both sides of the ball.  Gaither only had the ball two times, and turned it over on the first play of each possession.  Armwood carried out long drives and were helped by Gaither’s one-and-done attempts to dominate the half.  

After the game against Freedom on Oct. 25, Karsen said Armwood would be the best competition they see for the rest of the year and would set them up for success in the playoffs.  He stands by his statement after playing against them. 

“I knew that win, lose or draw, we would be a better football team after this game.  And I feel like we are… it sucks to lose but we’ve got to get over it. That is the important thing, to get over it and move on,” Karsen said.  

Cowboy safety and senior Hunter Mintzer is a third-year varsity player who made some great defensive plays against the Hawks.  Mintzer has led the team in tackles in multiple games and is confident in what his team can do.  

“This is the strongest team I’ve been on in the past three years and I think we have a lot of fire power,” Mintzer said.  

Despite the outcome, 14 points is the least Armwood has scored in a game all season.  And this year’s 9-1 finish was Gaither’s best regular season in 35 years of Cowboy football.  

Gaither will learn who they face in the first round of the Class 6A Playoffs on Sunday, Nov. 3.