Football: Gaither 29, Freedom 6
TAMPA – Gaither’s defense scored once and limited Freedom to only 17 yards in the second half Monday, and the Cowboys scored the game’s final 29 points in a Class 7A, District 7 contest.
After allowing a 68-yard TD pass from Jayland Desue to Jeremiah Ashe on the game’s second play from scrimmage, Gaither (3-2, 2-1) stymied several first-half scoring threats by Freedom (1-4, 1-2) and used a strong running attack to pull away.
Key play: Leading 14-6 midway through the third quarter, Gaither forced a Desue fumble and Brysen Roth recovered the ball in the Freedom end zone for a touchdown to give the Cowboys a two-score lead.
Stars of the game: Jeromy Reid led Gaither’s 330-yard ground attack with 171 yards on 16 carries. ... Jaedin Andrews added 86 yards on nine attempts and scored a 7-yard touchdown to give the Cowboys a 14-6 lead on their first series after intermission. ... Tanner Justice prevented a Freedom touchdown on the final play of the first half when he tackled Ashe, who had returned a missed Cowboy field-goal attempt 93 yards, at the Gaither 2.
Stats of the game: The teams combined for nine turnovers (seven fumbles and two interceptions). ... The only punt came with 3:52 left by Freedom. ... Gaither held a 448-186 advantage in total offensive yards. ... The Cowboys committed 19 penalties totaling 150 yards, with flags nullifying two apparent touchdowns by Cayden Jordan.
Final word: “We thought we could run on (Freedom). It was a Monday night game and it was fun watching our running backs get into the open space.’’ Gaither senior offensive lineman Ryan Stoup