Gates rolls to round two

Published 11:55 pm Friday, November 12, 2010

GATESVILLE – There’s no place like home.

For the first time in several playoff seasons, Gates County High School won a home playoff game, and boy, did they do it in style; opening the 2010 N.C. High School Athletic Association football playoffs with a 42-7 first-round win.

After surrendering a touchdown to Camden County on the Bruins’ opening drive, the Red Barons stormed back and scored 42 unanswered points: 21 in each half.

Running back DeShawn Stokley ran for three touchdowns on romps of 45, 14, and 6 yards, respectively, finishing with 164 yards. Quarterback Graham Hobbs threw for two more touchdowns on a nine-yard strike to Dwane Minor and a 23 yarder to Jeremy Smith, finishing with 214 yards thru the air.  Jerick Garrett put up the other score for Gates.

Demetre Brooks scored the lone touchdown for Camden County, who only made one other first down the rest of the night as the suffocating Red Barons defense held their opponents to just 96 yards of total offense.

“That first drive was a little bit questionable,” said coach Matt Biggy, “but after that we pretty much played lock-down defense.”

“We’ve played pretty good defense all year,” he added, “and things just came out real well.”

On Camden’s first play from scrimmage quarterback Theo McCoy connected on a long 40-yard bomb to Taylor Baxley and six plays later Brooks bowled his way in from the one-yard line.

It was the Bruins highlight of the night.  As Camden would have the ball six more times in the first half and punt it away all six times.

Gates came back on their first possession as Brandall Riddick carried six straight times for 36 yards down to the Camden 29-yard line. Five plays later it looked like Hobbs would pass for the equalizer, but on fourth-down the ball was dropped a yard shy of pay dirt.

The Red Baron defense then stopped the Bruins in four downs, leaving Camden punting from their end zone, which set Gates up at the Bruin 37-yard line.

However, the red-and-white clad home fans were again disappointed as the Red Barons would fumble this time in the shadow of the goal-line at the five-yard line.

But satisfaction would come one series later as Stokley scored his first touchdown of the night on the first play from scrimmage to tie the game at 7-7 at the end of the first quarter.

Gates went ahead midway thru the second quarter on a 14-yard scamper by Stokley and after a big stop by their defense, stretched the lead to 14 when Hobbs connected on his first touchdown toss of the night to Minor with just over two minutes until halftime.

Gates’ offense sputtered throughout much of the third quarter, but no matter as their defense recorded a pair of sacks on three Camden possessions.

The Red Barons finally got into the end zone in the quarter when T.J. Chatman recovered a Camden fumble at the Bruins’ 24-yard line and it only took Hobbs two plays to find Smith over the middle for a 22-point lead at 29-7 after a two-point conversion.

From there, Biggy kept the ball on the ground and just let the defense do the dirty work.  Stokley collected his third score of the night  on the first play of the fourth quarter and the garbage touchdown by Garrett late in the contest sealed the 35-point victory and sends the Red Barons into the second round at home again next Friday against Ayden-Grifton.

“It was like we were handcuffed,” said Camden coach Scott Jones. “We just couldn’t do anything at all offensively.  Their defense did a great job.”

“We played a second-round home game against (Pender County) Trask here last year and they whipped us pretty good,” cautioned Biggy, “so we’ll have to see what the next game brings.”

(By Gene Motley, Sports Writer)