Gaither 37, Sickles 3

By JOEY KNIGHT, Times Staff Writer
Published November 17, 2007

TAMPA - In the first playoff game of their 11-year history, the Gryphons learned how far emotion can carry a team.

Exactly 6 minutes, 18 seconds.

Buoyed by a crowd that packed the visitors bleachers and stood three-deep along the fence line, Sickles (7-4) stunned host Gaither with an early jab - a 25-yard Corey Page field goal - before being counter-punched into playoff elimination.

Sophomore Allen Sampson answered Page's field goal with a 99-yard touchdown return on the ensuing kickoff, and the Cowboys' merciful romp was on. By halftime, Gaither (8-3) had scored 30 points and given several starters the rest of the night off en route to a 37-3 triumph.

"I thought that, (Sickles) being in the playoffs, they'd be going on an emotional high," Cowboys coach Mark Kantor said. "They got that field goal early, and then we just responded."

Did they ever.

The Cowboys held Sickles to 68 total yards and five first downs, bottling up leading rusher Josh Mendez (24 carries, 47 yards) all night. The Gryphons, whose field goal was set up by an Andrew McNeil sack of Gaither quarterback Kamren Hawkins near the Cowboys goal line, never again advanced inside the hosts' 30 until the game's last possession.

Offensively, Gaither junior Jarvis Giles ran for 101 yards and a pair of TDs on only 10 carries before being relegated to spectator. In his absence, junior tight end Yemi Oyegunle converted a short Hawkins pass over the middle into a 56-yard TD, and sophomore Tony Moore (five carries, 42 yards) added a 14-yard scoring run.


Gaither 37 Sickles 3