TAMPA — Gaither didn’t play great Friday against upset-minded Freedom in a Class 7A-District 7 matchup, but it rode its defense to the victory.
In the first half, the Cowboys (2-2, 1-0) struggled moving the ball, but pieced together enough offense in the fourth quarter to pull away. Gaither executed two touchdown drives in the final six minutes. Jalen Cochran’s powerful run up the sideline sealed the victory.
However, most of the highlights were displayed on the defensive side of the ball for both teams.
Freedom’s (1-3, 0-1) vanilla offensive couldn’t get anything going. Led behind Darien King, the speed and size of Gaither’s defense overwhelmed the Patriots. They forced 13 plays for negative yardage, two turnovers and blocked a punt. The Cowboys also kept Freedom out of the end zone.
The Patriots finished with 97 total yards.
On the other side, quarterback Alex McGough, normally one of the area’s most precise passers, looked pedestrian against the Patriots’ overpowering pass rush and secondary coverage.
McGough completed five of 12 passes for 63 yards.
Gaither returns to action Friday at Durant, while Freedom is on the road the same night against Strawberry Crest.
Gaither 0 3 0 14 — 17
Freedom 0 0 0 0 — 0
G - FG Hobson 34
G - Grant 1 run (Hobson kick)
G - Cochran 3 run (Hobson kick)