WESLEY CHAPEL — Gaither ran up a 9-0 lead Friday night against district foe Wiregrass Ranch before severe weather swept in and postponed play for more than an hour. The Cowboys (4-2, 1-1) recovered an onside kick to start the third and hit a big pass play to Javon Hammond to take an insurmountable 16-0 lead. Malik Huff scored the back breaker on an 80-yard run.
Key drive: The Cowboys opened up the game with seven straight runs and claimed a field goal, but their second drive was energized by a catch-and-run by Curtis Wilder for 29 yards. Wilder was racing down the sideline. Taylor Bleistein planted his feet to make the stop, but Wilder flattened him, igniting a fire on the Gaither sideline. Three plays later, Raheem Wilson led the way for Alex Rodriguez's 15-yard touchdown run that put the Cowboys up 9-0.
Play of the game: Out of the hour-long delay, Wiregrass (2-3, 1-1) had a fourth and 1 at the Cowboys' 6. The Bulls went for it, and Gaither's Joshua Michael broke into the backfield and sacked Shane Bucenell for a loss, forcing a turnover on downs and snuffing out the Bulls' best scoring opportunity of the first half. Huff took a fourth-quarter handoff 80 yards for a touchdown to make it 22-0.
Stars of the game: Huff's 80-yard run broke the back of the Bull defense and swallowed their resolve. Shawn Torres, Austin Berger, Joshua Michael and Jakob Salgado all had critical sacks for Gaither.
Stats of the game: Spreading the love. The Cowboys gained 304 yards on the ground using six ball carriers. Gaither committed four personal-foul penalties that kept Wiregrass drives alive. The Cowboys only completed three passes but David Mazur's 34-yard touchdown pass to Hammond put the game out of reach for Wiregrass.
Final word: "We're very proud of our stable of backs, they all block for each other and root each other on. …Our kids (on defense) are undersized in every game but they are smart and go hard. My coaches do a great job with them." — Gaither coach Jason Stokes
Andy Warrener, Times correspondent