Gates County rallies by NCHS-East

Published 2:01 pm Saturday, October 3, 2009

GATESVILLE – It was a tale of two halves.

If the contest ended at the intermission, Northampton-East would have been heading back to Creeksville still atop the Tar-Roanoke Conference standings. As it was, however, the Red Barons of Gates County upended the Rams 18-14 with a come-from-behind victory.

The Rams scored twice in the opening half, jumping out to a 14-0 lead, but the Red Barons bounced back to score 18 unanswered in the fourth quarter and take the lead.

Northampton scored on their first possession of the game when they drove 87 yards on 12 plays. The drive started with quarterback Phillip Dickens going 17 yards on the first play. After a one-yard loss, Dickens connected with Je’wan Boone on a 12-yard pass completion.

Boone then carried for a gain of 19 yards and Dickens for nine. Hyshawn Hewett moved the football down to the Gates County 20-yardline before Boone picked up 10 yards. Two plays later, Dickens went in from 10 yards out which, coupled with a Keshawn Gaskins extra point, gave the Rams a 7-0 lead.

The Rams drove deep into Red Baron territory midway through the second quarter, but a Gates County goal line stand held them out of the endzone and forced Northampton to turn the ball over on downs.

On the next play, however, Deandre Lassiter recovered his second fumble of the night to give the Rams the ball back at the Gates County six-yardline. On the next play, Dickens found Travis Wiggins in the endzone for a touchdown. Gaskins again added the PAT and the Rams led 14-0 with 5:02 to play in the first half.

The Rams tried to put together another scoring drive late in the second quarter, driving from their own 40-yardline to the Gates County 32, but the Red Barons held them at bay leaving the score 14-0 at the half.

After recovering a fumble on East’s opening drive of the second half, the Red Barons set sail on a nine-play, 55-yard scoring drive. Damaion Gatling was the workhorse on the drive, carrying the ball the first five plays on the drive picking up five, nine, 10, one and eight yards. Trebor Buck then picked up the third first down of the drive for the Red Barons with a four-yard scamper.

Following back-to-back losses, GCHS quarterback Graham Hobbs found Jeremy Smith in the endzone for a touchdown with 4:48 to play in the third quarter. The extra point was blocked leaving Northampton-East ahead 14-6.

The Red Barons scored again with just seven seconds left in the third quarter when Buck capped a eight-play, 68-yard drive with an 11-yard scoring run. Hobbs had a key scamper during the drive while Gatling had back-to-back runs of 15 yards.

The run failed again, but Gates County closed within 14-12.

The final scoring drive for the Red Barons was set up by a key mistake by the Rams. Facing a fourth-and-18, Northampton-East decided to punt. The snap however, didn’t make it to the hands of the punter and he was forced to pick up the football and run for it. The Red Barons dragged him down at the 10-yardline.

From there, it took Gates County four plays to make it to the endzone, aided by a face mask penalty on the Rams. Gatling scored from six yards out with 8:53 to play in the game. The run failed, but Gates County led 18-14.

On what proved to be their final drive, Northampton picked up seven yards, but was forced to punt the ball away with just under seven minutes to play. A 51-yard punt gave the Red Barons the football on their own 19.

From there, Gates County picked up six first downs and ran out the clock, thereby preserving the victory.

Next week, the Red Barons will host Northampton County High School – West in another T-RC showdown while Northampton-East will be on the road at North Edgecombe.