Gates tops Dixon
GATESVILLE – It didn’t take long to figure out which team was headed to round two Friday night.
Gates County High School jumped on Dixon early in the first quarter and never looked back as they claimed a 35-10 win in the first round of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 1-AA playoffs.
The win gave Head Coach Matt Biggy and his squad a trip to the second round where they will meet Ayden-Grifton for the second consecutive year.
Gates won the toss, but elected to defer giving Dixon the ball first. The Bulldogs came up short on the first three downs but decided to fake a punt. It was a mistake they paid for quickly.
The Red Barons sniffed out the fake, stopped it and took over possession on the Dixon 39-yard line. A steady diet of Brandall Riddick helped Gates moved the ball down to the seven-yard line. From there, Isaiah Eure picked up one yard before Riddick took the ball again and rumbled six yards to paydirt. The extra point failed, but Gates led 6-0 with 7:47 remaining in the first quarter.
On their next possession, the Bulldogs came up short on a 52-yard field goal attempt and Gates took over at their own 20-yard line. The field position was different, but the result was the same.
Riddick picked up a quick 22 yards on first down and, three plays later, quarterback Andrew Wiggins connected on a quick eight-yard gain. Riddick and Wiggins combined to move the ball to the 40-yard line. Eure then picked up nine yards before Riddick broke off a 29-yard run to the two. Biggy again called Riddick’s number and the sophomore capped the drive on a two-yard plunge.
The conversion failed, but Gates had all the points they would need with a 12-0 lead with 1:09 still to play in the first period.
The Red Barons were stopped on their next possession and then snapped the ball through the endzone on the punt, giving Dixon a safety as the Bulldogs closed within 12-2.
Following a Bulldog punt, however, the Red Barons were back on the offensive, driving 51 yards to paydirt on just six plays. Nathan Rogers capped the drive with a one-yard run. The conversion failed again, but Gates County led 18-2.
Gates added to the lead when, after recovering a fumble, the Red Barons drove 37 yards on seven plays. Riddick capped the drive with a five-yard run and then added the two-point conversion to give his team a 24-2 lead with 1:34 remaining in the second quarter.
An interception by Josh Cross set up Gates’ final score in the first half.
On first down from their own 49-yard line, Wiggins connected with George Kee on a screen pass and the result was a 51-yard touchdown. Kyle Badgett added the conversion and Gates led 33-2 at the intermission.
Dixon was finally able to score on offense late in the third quarter when Shane Sweeting rushed in from 27 yards out. C.D. Hansley added the two-point conversion to close within 33-10.
Early in the fourth quarter, the Red Barons got a safety of their own when Latwand Williams tackled Hansley in the endzone to make it 35-10.
Neither team scored again, leaving the Red Barons on the winning side of the first round playoff game.
This week Gates will travel to Ayden-Grifton to meet the Chargers who won the 1-A Carolina Conference and are currently 10-1 after a 48-7 win over East Carteret.