Cowboys defeat Warriors in battle of north Hillsborough
By Kyle LoJacono
The Gaither High football team won the first meeting with Steinbrenner High 20-7 in Lutz Sept. 10.
The Cowboys (1-1) defense harassed the Warriors (0-1) offense all night, limiting them to 42 yards and three first downs. Steinbrenner quarterback Christian Carriere was 1-for-16 passing with two interceptions and was also sacked three times, twice by linebacker Josh Scarberry.
“It was huge to get this win,” Scarberry said. “To us this is a rivalry game. The whole defense really played well coming out getting sacks, tackles for losses. They really weren’t doing anything on us.”
Steinbrenner coach Floyd Graham said of his offense, “We made so many bad mistakes. We’ve got to get better on the offensive line. We were just really atrocious is the best word to put it. It’s just inexperience and we weren’t ready to play tonight.”
One of the few highlights for Steinbrenner was recovering an onside kick to start the game. Graham said he knew Gaither would not look for it on the opening kickoff, but the Warriors could not manage a first down on the drive.
Gaither took its opening possession 58 yards, ending with a one-yard touchdown run by sophomore quarterback Shug Oyegunle. The Cowboys also scored on their second drive on a 21-yard pass by Oyegunle to wide receiver Josh Bultron. Oyegunle finished with 172 passing yards and two touchdowns while adding 43 rushing yards.
“The more experience I get the more comfortable I feel in the offense,” Oyegunle said. “Getting the first win is so good because it lets everyone know we’re ready to hunt. We’re ready to go get anyone.”
Gaither struggled to produce after the first two drives, losing a muffed punt, throwing an interception, fumbling the ball on the Steinbrenner one-yard line in the fourth quarter and having a punt blocked that eventually led to the Warriors only touchdown.
“I would’ve liked to put a few more points on the board, but we got it done,” said Gaither coach Mark Kantor. “We’ll go back to the drawing board and prepare for Wharton (High) next week.”
Despite the difference in yardage, Steinbrenner kept the game close until Mitch McNall came down with a 9-yard touchdown pass to seal the win for the Cowboys. McNall also caught a 10-yard pass on fourth down in the fourth quarter that gave Gaither a first down.
“When I caught that touchdown I felt like the game was ours,” McNall said. “It was a great team effort to come out with this win. I think this is Shug’s best game he’s ever played. He’s been getting better and better and the offensive line protected him, the running backs got the job done and the defense shut the door.”
Steinbrenner’s lone score came on a 5-yard run by Kendall Pearcey.
The Warriors will try to get their first varsity win Thursday, Sept. 16 at Blake High while Gaither will go for two in a row that night at home against Wharton.
Leave a Reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.