TAMPA — Death Valley wasn't so deadly to the Wildcats on a Thursday night meeting with Gaither.
Avenging its 15-14 loss to the Cowboys last season, Wharton (1-2) shut out the home team 10-0 despite not reaching the end zone on offense.
Gaither (1-2) looked like the more potent team out of the gate as quarterback Shug Oyegunle (14-for-34, 159 yards, one interception) led the Cowboys on an opening drive past midfield. However, the drive stalled, which was story for the first half for both squads.
The opening kickoff of the third quarter was brought back by Wharton wide receiver Shaq Williams 74 yards for a touchdown. Safety Tanner Stocker iced the victory by picking off an Oyegunle pass in the fourth quarter.
"That kickoff return kind of jump-started us and got us going," Wharton coach David Mitchell said. "This was a must win, and now, we have to work harder."
Derek J. LaRiviere, Times correspondent