The Gatewood Gators, coming off a deflating loss to start the season, aimed to get back on track last Friday against the Trinity Christian Crusaders of Dublin. The Gators rolled through the Trinity defense and stifled the Crusaders’ winged-t offensive attack, winning the game decisively, 43-0.
“We needed that win to get our season back on track,” quarterback Luke Haley said. “It was important that we got our confidence and momentum back.”
After the Gators quickly forced Trinity to punt on its first drive, Walt Jarrett electrified the Gator faithful with a 57-yard run on Gatewood’s first offensive play from scrimmage. Yale Stapp finished off the Gators’ threeplay drive with a 5-yard touchdown run.
The Gators and Crusaders traded two scoreless drives each before Haley found Connor Olson in the end zone for their first connection of the young season. On the following possession, Haley broke loose on a quarterback keeper for a 62-yard touchdown, putting Gatewood up 20-0 going into the half.
Gatewood refused to let up in the second half. After forcing and recovering a fumble on the first play of the third quarter, the Gators were left just 13 yards out of the end zone. It took only two plays for Haley to lead the offense back into the end zone, extending the lead to 34. Another touchdown by Haley, followed by an explosive 53-yard touchdown by Nash Sinclair, iced the game for the Gators.
The Gators’ defense matched the offense’s intensity, forcing a Trinity shutout. The most impressive feat, however, might be the fact the Crusaders did not once reach the red zone.
The Gators made turnovers a point of emphasis after giving the ball away five times to John Milledge. Their work paid off as they forced five Trinity turnovers this week: two interceptions and three fumbles.
Haley led the Gators’ offensive attack with three rushing touchdowns as well as one passing touchdown. Sinclair and Stapp also ran for one touchdown each. Walt Jarrett never reached the end zone, but did account for 181 of the Gators’ rushing yards.
The Gators will travel to Sandersville this Friday night to open AA play against the Brentwood Eagles. It will be Gatewood’s first road test as both teams look to gain their second win of the 2018 season.