GIBSONTON — Gaither (4-2) handed East Bay (3-3) a tough 17-16 defeat Friday night.
The East Bay homecoming crowd sensed a fourth-quarter comeback win after Tajee Fullwood's second 1-yard TD run and subsequent field goal gave the Indians a 16-10 lead with 2:38 remaining.
The Cowboys' Shug Oyegunle had other ideas. He returned the ensuing kickoff 72 yards to the East Bay 20. Sophomore Alex McGough then hit Carlo Perello on a short pass for the tying score. Dalton Gilson's PAT provided the winning margin with 2:17 to go.
Gaither wore down East Bay with a consistent defensive effort spearheaded by Josh Scarberry's five sacks, two tackles for loss, and batted pass. The Indians scored 16 straight, buoyed by a 50-yard completion from Fullwood to Quaeshawn Laurent to set up the go-ahead score. Nick Sampson recovered a fumble on the last kickoff to seal the Gaither win.
"Special teams wins ball games, defense wins championships, but special teams can win games," said Gaither senior Tyler McCollum, who had a blocked field goal and 64-yard kickoff return.
Mark Chisholm, Times correspondent