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Trask wins battle of ‘Cinderellas’

GATESVILLE – The glass slipper fits.

Unfortunately for Gates County High School, it was placed on the foot of another “Cinderella.”

In a second-round match-up that nobody expected, #14 seed Trask High School rode the athleticism of Dominique Lesine to continue their magical ride through the NCHSAA 1-AA play-offs as the visiting Titans defeated #11 seed Gates County, 42-14, here last night (Friday).

Trask, who remains below .500 for the season (6-7 overall), advances to next Friday’s eastern semifinals. They will travel to #2 Goldsboro (a 41-8 winner over Southeast Halifax last night) next Friday.

And the Titans can thank Lesine for extending their season past Thanksgiving. The senior two-way starter was a one-man wrecking crew for Trask – rushing for a game-high 181 yards and two touchdowns; returning a kick-off for another score; and adding a defensive TD on an interception return.

For the Red Barons, who ended their season at 6-7 overall, it was a frustrating night. GCHS mustered only 187 yards of total offense against a quick Titans defense who crowded the line of scrimmage and dared the ‘Barons to throw the pigskins. When Gates did turn to its aerial attack, three of those 15 passes were intercepted – one returned for a score while the other two set-up Trask TD’s late in the game.

Other than a 52-yard scoring drive, one that ended with Jerick Garrett’s one-yard TD run and two-point conversion with 2:07 left in the game, Gates County’s only other serious scoring threat came on their very first possession. There, highlighted by a 33-yard run by Emmanuel Knight, the ‘Barons reached the Trask 19 yardline before losing possession on downs.

Gates County did hold a 6-0 lead at the midway mark of the first quarter thanks to their defense. A bad exchange between Trask quarterback Dacquan Hansley and running back Tyree Lee produced a fumble, one that junior defensive lineman Avante Cross scooped up at his own 32 yardline and rumbled 68 yards for a touchdown. The two-point conversion failed.

That lead lasted exactly 14 seconds when Lesine fielded the ensuing kick-off and raced 83 yards to paydirt. Jack Bradshaw’s PAT staked the Titans to the lead for-keeps.

The Titans extended their lead to 22-6 by halftime thanks to a 15-point outburst over a three-minute span late in the second quarter.

Bradshaw’s 21-yard field goal started that offensive spurt. On the first snap after the ensuing kick-off, Lesine pick-off a ‘Barons pass that, two plays later, set-up his 30-yard TD run. On Trask’s next possession, Lesine darted 65 yards to paydirt thanks to a quick hitter off the left side.

Lesine added a 37-yard interception return for a touchdown just before the midway mark of the third quarter for a 29-6 lead.

Trask polished off the win by turning a pair of fourth quarter interceptions (one each by Terry Lewis and Joseph Austin) into touchdowns. Those scores were respectively recorded by Jeremy Lee (11-yard run) and Larmar Dennis (1-yard run).

Trask compiled 358 yards of total offense, with 339 coming on the ground.

Damaion Gatling (14 carries, 42 yards), Garrett (5-40), Knight (3-33) and Graham Hobbs (6-24) were Gates County’s leading ground gainers.