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Gates rallies past Weldon

GATESVILLE – In a game marred by penalties and turnovers, the Red Barons of Gates put together a strong finish to defeat the visiting Chargers of Weldon.

In a defensive struggle, the Red Baron’s came up with key turnovers late and were able to finally put the game away in the last few minutes.

The game got off to a slow start for the Red Barons.

After stopping the Chargers opening drive, Gates took over at their own 50-yardline. On the first play from scrimmage, Graham Hobbs’ pass was tipped and intercepted by Brandon Hale of the Chargers and returned 49 yards for a touchdown.  The try for two points failed and the Red Barons found themselves down 6-0.

The rest of the quarter was a defensive struggle as the teams swapped punts.

After a Weldon punt near the nine-minute mark of the second quarter, Gates began a drive at their own nine-yardline.  Following a roughing the passer call against the Chargers, Hobbs hit DaShawn Stokley with a five-yard pass.  After two incompletions, Hobbs then hit a streaking Jeremy Smith who raced down the right sidelines for a 74-yard touchdown.  The PAT was good by Angelo Rosati and Gates held a 7-6 lead.

The Red Baron defense again stiffened and forced a turnover on downs at their 39.  This drive stalled with an interception by the Charger’s Victor Mallory.

Again the Red Barons’ defense forced a punt which was partially blocked and recovered by the Chargers at their own 43-yardline. Following two penalties against the Chargers, the Red Barons’ defense forced another punt.  This time the punter was inundated with Red Barons and the punt was blocked and recovered by T.J. Chatman at the Chargers 14 yard line at the 1:15 mark of the second quarter.

Hobbs was again victimized by a tipped ball that was intercepted by Devonte Harvey of the Chargers and returned to the Chargers 30-yardline.  Following a penalty against Gates for a late hit, Weldon set up at their own 45-yardline to try to get a score before half.  However, the half ended with a sack of Mallory by Avante Cross of the Red Barons.

The second half opened with the Red Barons going to a spread offense with Hobbs in shot-gun formation which they stayed in for most of second half.  This seemed to open up the defense of the Chargers and provided some running room for Stokley.

However, a fumble by Hobbs ended the drive and the Chargers took over at their own 43-yardline.

A six play touchdown drive ensued capped by a 45-yard scoring pass from Mallory to Jaquan McGee. The two point conversion failed, but the Chargers had a 12-7 lead.

The Red Barons then took the kickoff and drove 25 yards on three plays with the bulk of the damage by Stokley.  But another fumble gave the ball back to Weldon.

The Chargers then ran off 10 running plays to move the ball to the Red Barons’ six-yardline.  On the eleventh running play of the drive, McGee fumbled the ball and was picked up by Rosati and returned to the Red Barons’ 45-yardline.

Following a penalty for illegal block during the runback, the Red Barons set up shop at their own 30. On the next play Stockley was hit out of bounds and a 15 yarder was marched off against the Chargers.  The next play a holding penalty moved the Red Barons back to their 35.  Hobbs then hit Dylan Lilley with a 29-yard pass.  He then connected on a 16 -yard completion to D.J. Costen following a one yard loss.

Stokley scampered around right end for 21 yards and paydirt.  He was helped along the way with a vicious block by Lilley.  Following a missed PAT and with 9:12 left in the fourth quarter, the Red Barons held a 13-12 lead.

The Chargers took the kickoff and tried to mount a comeback, but a hit by Jonathan Sherrod of the Red Barons knocked the ball loose from Mallory and Sherrod recovered the fumble ending that drive.

The Red Barons took over with 7:02 left and drove 26 yards for the final score, with Stokley carrying the ball the final eight yards.  The two-point conversion was good and Gates took a 21-12 lead.

The Chargers then mounted another last ditch effort to score driving 58 yards in 11 plays only to turn the ball over on downs after getting to the Red Barons’ one yard line.

The win gives the Red Barons their first Tar-Roanoke Conference victory of the season.  Now they make plan to travel to Northampton-East next week.

(By Willie McLawhorn, Sports Writer)