Red Barons win ‘border war’

Published 11:46 pm Friday, September 9, 2011

GATESVILLE – A border war was won by North Carolina here Friday night.

After spotting the visiting Seahawks of Atlantic Shores High School an 8-0 lead, Gates County came roaring back with 20 unanswered points en route to a 28-15 non-conference football victory. Three of the Red Barons’ four touchdowns were set-up by the defense, including an interception returned for a touchdown.

The win evened Gates County’s overall record at 2-2 as the Barons finished off the non-conference portion of their regular season. GCHS will travel to Weldon next Friday (Sept. 16) to open their Tar-Roanoke Conference slate of games. Kick-off is at 7:30 p.m.

Trailing 8-0, the Red Barons got their offense untracked and took the lead for-keeps.

Gates County’s first score of the game was set-up by its defense when George Kee picked off a Seahawks pass at the visitors’ 23 yardline. Five plays later, quarterback Andrew Wiggins called his own number and dashed 13 yards to paydirt on the last snap of the first quarter. The conversion run failed, but Gates County had dented the scoreboard and trailed 8-6.

The ‘Barons electrified their crowd in the second quarter, striking for two touchdowns just 20 seconds apart to tilt the game in Gates County’s favor.

Following an Atlantic Shores punt, the ‘Barons started a drive from their own 20 yardline. The ensuring march to the other end of the field consumed 15 plays and 80 yards, capped by an eight-yard TD pass from Wiggins to Derek Hillock with 2:48 left on the second quarter clock. Dashawn Stokley’s two-point conversion run staked the ‘Barons to a 14-8 lead.

On the Seahawks first snap following the ensuring kick-off, Gates County defender DJ Costen picked off an enemy pass and returned his theft 55 yards to paydirt. The PAT kick was blocked, but the ‘Barons went into the locker room with a 20-8 halftime lead.

Both teams punched in touchdowns in the third quarter.

Atlantic Shores struck first in the second half, hitting a big play when quarterback Garfield Christian reeled off a 72-yard sprint to the endzone. Jeremy Bookers booted the PAT, trimming the Seahawks deficit to 20-15 at the 9:23 mark of the third quarter.

The ‘Barons turned to their defense once again to set-up the game’s final score. This time it was defender Tiaheem Ricks picking off a Seahawks pass, giving Gates possession of the pigskin at the ‘Barons 40 yardline. Six plays later, Stokley scampered 25 yards to the endzone, took a deep breath and then added the conversion run that extended the Gates County lead to 28-15 with 70 seconds left in the third quarter.

The Red Barons finished the game with 264 total yards of offense, of which 261 coming on the ground on 65 rushing attempts. Stokley led that effort with 179 yards on 31 carries. Backfield mate Brandall Riddick added 59 rushing yards on 21 attempts.

Atlantic Shores had 227 total yards, led by Christian with 101 rushing yards on nine attempts.