A Modern Battle of Cowboys and Indians

Rachel Slay, Editor-in-Chief


The Gaither Cowboys are on a four-game win streak thanks to quarterback Tony Bartalo and the dominant Cowboy defense.  Gaither hosted the East Bay Indians (1-3) in a duel at Death Valley Stadium where they won 39-15.   

Following an interception by Jordan Oladokun, his first of the season, Bartalo met Drelin Pittman for a touchdown early in the first quarter.  The lead was opened to 13-0 after running back Jayden Mendez brought Gaither into the redzone, allowing Bartalo to complete a TD pass to Deveon Knighton.  

Bartalo hit Knighton again for a gain of 22 before connecting with him for a third TD.  An impressive 75-yard drive put Gaither up 26-0 as the half came to a close.  

East Bay was rushed into Gaither territory by running back Malachi Drayton.  Armone Bostick sealed the deal with a one-yard carry for 6. This would be East Bay’s only trip to the end zone until the final minutes of the game.  

Just before the end of the quarter, Oladokun beat his man, secured Bartalo’s pass and strolled his way into Gaither’s fifth TD.  Gaither led 32-7 at the start of the fourth.

Just before head coach Kirk Karsen sent in the backups, Mendez shot 50 yards up the sideline for the sixth and final Cowboy TD.  

After the game Karsen said “we respect every opponent, but we fear no one.”  It is that mentality that the players and coaching staff have bought into to create a successful football team.

The Cowboy defense seemed to always be one step ahead of East Bay.  Gaither’s young defensive live was an impenetrable wall for the Indian’s triple-option offense, holding them to -36 total offensive yards on 16 plays in the first half.  Karsen had only positive things to say about their performance.  

“It was, I thought, one of their best performances of the year… I was a little worried that it could’ve been a trap game after having a big win at Plant City,” Karsen said.  

Sophomore defensive end Mario Eugenio has been a big play-maker for the Cowboys.  

“It is a challenge.  I just want to help out the team and I want to always do better for the whole team.  Tonight I thought we were explosive off the ball and made plays,” Eugenio said.  

Bartalo’s completion to Oladokun kept his passing TD streak alive.  Bartalo has now thrown four or more touchdowns in four consecutive games for a total of 1,107 yards.  

“Nothing he does surprises me anymore.  I’m a bad coach for not starting him last year, the whole year,” Karsen said.   

In two weeks, Gaither will face Fivay High in a district game as they come out of their Week 5 bye.  

“This week we’re going to take a couple of days off, get some practice in tomorrow and Tuesday to get our legs back under us but then we’re going to put all our focus on Fivay,” Bartalo said.

The expectations have been set.  The goals have been established. The undefeated Gaither Cowboys are in for the long haul.