Gates captured third straight win
EASONS CROSSROADS – Gates County High School won its third in a row here last night.
The Red Barons easily handled visiting North Edgecombe 43-26 to earn their third consecutive victory and fifth in their last six outings to improve to 6-3 overall this season and 3-1 in the Tar-Roanoke Conference.
The Red Barons wasted no time putting their stamp on the contest early, taking the opening kickoff and driving 54 yards on 10 plays to grab the early lead.
Junior running back Brandall Riddick did the bulk of the damage on the drive, including a 30-yard pickup when the Barons were facing a fourth-and-four on the first set of downs.
Red Barons Head Coach Matt Biggy rewarded Riddick’s efforts by calling his number when they reached the four-yard line. Riddick scored on that scamper to get the first points of the game. A bad snap negated the conversion, but the Barons led 6-0 with 8:26 to play in the first quarter.
North Edgecombe wasn’t planning to go quietly, however. The Warriors traveled 60 yards in five plays on their first drive of the night. Antoine Pittman gained 20 yards on the first play from scrimmage and Darius Phillips added 31 on the next play.
It took just three more before Pittman found the endzone from three yards out. The two-point conversion run failed, leaving the game tied at 6-all with 6:23 to play in the first period.
While the Warriors scored quickly, the Barons would again grind it out on the ground. Riddick and fullback Isaiah Eure moved the ball steadily from the Gates County 31-yard line all the way to the one before Riddick punched it in again. He also added the two-point conversion to give Gates County a 14-6 lead with only 52 ticks left on the first quarter clock.
North Edgecombe started the second quarter facing a third-and-eight, but Joshua Reid gave them bigger problems when the sophomore defensive back picked off a pass and returned it to the 48-yardline of the Warriors.
Again Gates County took its time moving the football down the field, driving those 48 yards on eight plays. Sophomore quarterback Andrew Wiggins found junior receiver Tyvonn Ricks streaking down the sideline on a 22-yard touchdown play for the score. The kick failed, but the Barons led 20-6.
The Warriors moved the football on the next drive, but came up short on fourth down and surrendered the ball to the Barons at the Gates County 32-yard line.
The Barons got nothing out of the drive and punted, but on North Edgecombe second play from scrimmage, the football came loose and senior defensive end Latwand Williams recovered the ball and returned it 17 yards for a touchdown.
Riddick added the conversion run to give Gates County a 28-6 lead with 58 seconds left in the first half. That score stood up through the intermission.
As the third quarter started, Williams again scooped up a North Edgecombe fumble, this time giving the Barons the football at the Warrior 44-yard line.
Following a couple of short games, Riddick broke off a 38-yard run for a touchdown. Cody Waterfield took in the two-point conversion and Gates County led 36-6 with 10:05 still to play in the third quarter.
An exchange of punts left North Edgecombe the football at their own 37-yard line. The Warriors put together a six-play drive for their next score. Travonte Collins got the call from one-yard out for the touchdown. The conversion pass failed, leaving Gates County up 36-12.
The Barons scored for the final time on the second play of the fourth quarter. Eure took it in from four yards out. The conversion made it 43-18.
North Edgecombe added a meaningless touchdown with 49 seconds to go in the game and added the conversion, but it was too little too late.
The Red Barons will now close out the 2012 regular season at home next week when they host KIPP Pride on Senior Night and Homecoming.