Gaither is no more match for Lakeland than the 41 teams that came before it
By ROD GIPSON
Published November 18, 2006
LAKELAND - Gaither took its turn at Goliath Friday night and, as with the 41 teams before it, the results were the same.
The Cowboys could do little to slow the state's top-ranked team, falling 37-0 to Lakeland in a Class 5A region semifinal.
Gaither's season ended at 7-5, while the Dreadnaughts (12-0) will put their 42-game winning streak on the line against Lake Gibson in the region final next Friday.
Lakeland controlled the game from the outset, although it could have been worse. Lakeland's Chris Rainey opened the game with a 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, only to have a penalty nullify the score.
A quarter later, another penalty took a Jamar Taylor touchdown off the scoreboard.
But the Dreadnaughts still had more than enough offense to thwart any hopes of a Cowboy upset. Rainey came as advertised, rushing for 253 yards, 109 in the first half, as he scored on runs of 16 and 24 yards.
Rainey added scoring runs of 63 and 81 in the second half. Taylor had 129 yards for the Dreadnaughts, ranked fourth in the nation by USA Today.
And the Dreadnaughts defense was equally strong, limiting the Cowboys to 79 yards of offense.
Gaither managed just 21 yards in the first two quarters and didn't register a first down until midway through the third. Gaither running back Jarvis Giles managed 58 yards rushing.
"That's why they are the No. 4 team in the country," said Gaither coach Mark Kantor. "We fought. That's all you can ask. But going up against a team like that, you have to fight better. You really have to bring it for four quarters."