Miscues haunt Gates County

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 18, 2003

GATESVILLE – While the Red Barons were making the usual season-opening blunders, Manteo’s Redskins looked near mid-season form, turning four Gates County turnovers into 14 points enroute to a 27-7 win here Friday night.

After a solid first half turned, the game turned sour for Gates County late in third quarter the when a pair of

kickoff fumbles led to their defense being on the field for 24 consecutive plays.

During this time, the Redskins put the ball in the endzone three times and locked away the contest when sophomore Ryan Gibbs scampered in from six yards out with 6:37 to go in the game.

The onslaught began when the Redskins took possession on a punt at the end of the third quarter. Tied 7-7, Manteo put together an eight-play, 85-yard drive to take the lead for good.

C.J. Brooks, who led the Redskins with 217 yards on 20 carries, started the drive by picking up 13 yards on the first play from scrimmage.

It was Gibbs, however, who broke a 54-yard run on second down from the Redskins’ own 31-yard line. The Barons defense stiffened and held the Redskins to a fourth and two from the six yardline, but senior quarterback Brint Twyne called his own number to pick up the first down.

From there, Brooks barreled in from one yard out to give the Redskins their first lead of the game. Junior placekicker Alfie Wheeler added his second PAT of the game to give Manteo a 14-7 lead.

It was Wheeler’s next two kick-offs that cost the Barons. Wheeler sent a short pooch-kick which the Barons coughed up. Nate Bernard scooped up the loose pigskin and the Redskins’ offense set up shop at the GCHS 40-yardline.

It took only three plays before Brooks broke free for a 29-yard touchdown scamper. That, coupled with Wheeler’s extra point, gave the Redskins a 21-7 advantage.

The ensuing kick-off looked like a mirror image of the previous one. Wheeler employed the pooch-kick, Gates County fumbled it and Bernard again pounced on the loose football.

This time Bernard’s fumble recovery set his team up at the Red Baron 45-yardline.

The Redskins used the running of Gibbs, Brooks and sophomore Joel Creef to drive the 45 yards on six plays. Gibbs capped the drive with a six yard scamper to paydirt. A botched snap cost the Redskins their PAT attempt, but left them with the final margin of 27-7.

Gates County attempted a late comeback on their next possession when quarterback A.J. Newsome hooked up with NUMBER 12 for a 41-yard pass completion, moving the Red Barons deep into Manteo territory at the Redskins’ 26-yardline.

Justin Powell and Fabian Hobbs combined to move GCHS to the four-yardline, before a failed fourth down conversion ended the Red Barons drive.

The game started slowly for both teams as they traded punts before an interception by the Gates County defense at the Manteo 32-yardline.

Hobbs, the Red Barons’ leading rusher with 45 yards on 17 carries, led the drive for GCHS, carrying the ball seven times for 28 yards. It was Hobbs who not only picked up a key fourth down on the drive, but also capped it with an 11-yard run to paydirt with 12 seconds remaining in the first quarter.

Newsome added the point after and the Red Barons led 7-0.

Manteo’s lone score of the first half came on the ensuing possession when Brooks broke free for runs of 16 and 28 yards on a three-play drive that covered 47 yards. Brooks’ score was followed by Wheeler’s first PAT of the game which knotted the score at 7-all.

The Red Barons (0-1) continue their non-conference schedule next week when they travel to Roanoke-Chowan area rival Northampton-East for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff.