PLANT CITY — Kadarius Griffin ran for 95 yards and two touchdowns, and John Hendricks Jr. added 116 rushing yards to lead a homecoming celebration for the Cougars.
The victory was the first in five games for Durant, which rolled through an undefeated regular season and first-round playoff triumph in 2012. Gaither fell to 2-3.
Early in the second quarter, Griffin opened the scoring one play after quarterback Trey Van De Grift and wide receiver Garrett Rentz connected on a 42-yard pass play to the Gaither 1.
Special teams produced the only points in the third quarter – a 38-yard field goal by Derek Wells – and the Durant defense regained the spotlight early in the fourth.
Thirty-four seconds after Griffin scored again from 8 yards out, Cougars cornerback Gabe Brown put the game out of reach with a 42-yard interception return for a touchdown. Cougars defensive end Dontriel Perry contributed four sacks to pace a unit that finished off the Cowboys with a late safety and a goal-line stand as time ran out.
Gaither 0 0 0 0 — 0
Durant 0 7 3 16 — 26
D – Griffin 1 run (Wells kick)
D – FG Wells 38
D – Griffin 8 run (Wells kick)
D – G. Brown 42 interception return (Wells kick)
D – Safety, tackled in end zone