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Gladiators fall to Sarasota

Gibbs stays close for a half, but can't stop Sailor back Mike Ford.

By JEFF BERLINICKE
Published November 20, 2004

SARASOTA - For one half, the Gibbs defense contained Sarasota star running back Mike Ford, but it wasn't enough as Ford ran wild in the second half, leading the Sailors to a 61-34 win over the Gladiators.

Ford ran for 312 yards and five touchdowns on the night. It was his 10th straight game with at least two touchdowns and his 10th straight rushing for over 200 yards.

Gibbs (6-5) hung in, jumping out to an early lead, and trailed by only 27-20 at the half. At halftime, Ford had only 82 yards rushing, but Sarasota (10-1) dominated the line of scrimmage as Ford's straight-ahead rushing wore down the Gladiators.

"It's just so hard to stop a good back like that," Gibbs coach Al Davis said. "How many did he have, 300? We came to play and we knew he'd bring it at us, but that guy is just a good back."

Gibbs took the early lead after Sarasota fumbled a punt deep in its own territory. The Gladiators took control at the Sarasota 48 and moved to the 10 after a 38-yard completion from Josh McKinnon to Brandon Shorter. Two plays later, Jerrel Young ran it in from the 1. The extra point failed and Gibbs led, 6-0.

Sarasota answered on its next possession and Ford capped it with a 12-yard run around end, breaking several tackles. Sarasota also missed the kick and it was tied at 6.

Gibbs went ahead again on a 12-yard touchdown pass from McKinnon to John Banks, but Sarasota responded when quarterback Steve Karwatt found Chad O'Connor open in the back of the end zone to tie it at 12 and, after a Gibbs punt, the Sailors took a 19-12 lead after Karwatt hit O'Connor for a 61-yard strike.

The Gladiators took their last lead of the night, 20-19, when McKinnon hit Kevin Williams for a 56-yard score and went up, 20-19, but Sarasota scored just before the half on a pass from Karwatt to Zolia Williams to make it 27-20. Gibbs threatened just before the half but was stopped short.

Sarasota outscored Gibbs 14-0 in the third quarter once Ford took over, and Gibbs never threatened again.

McKinnon threw for 168 yards to lead Gibbs, and Shorter threw a touchdown pass of 69 yards. He also caught a touchdown score of 82 yards from backup quarterback Josh Hetzendorter.

[Last modified November 20, 2004, 01:06:09]


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