BULLS 24 COWBOYS 7

WESLEY CHAPEL – Sitting at 3-2 overall and 1-1 in the Class 7A District 8 standings, Wiregrass needed a win and got just that.

The Bulls came out swinging in the second half and pulled away late to beat the Cowboys, 24-7.

Stuck in a scoreless tie at the break, Wiregrass Ranch opened the third quarter with a 65-yard, double-pass touchdown from Hunter Helton to Keith Walker. Bulls quarterback Grant Sessums swung a lateral to Helton on the first play of the half and Helton dropped a deep ball right in the hands of Walker.

The Bulls weren’t done.

Starting at their own 33 after the ensuing kickoff, Gaither fumbled the first-down snap and Wiregrass Ranch recovered at the Cowboys 24. Two penalties and four plays later, Bulls running back Mason Buie took in a touchdown from two yards out.

Speaking of penalties, yellow flags played a massive role in Friday night’s game. The teams combined for 41 infractions for a total of 355 yards.

Gaither had two prime opportunities late in the first half to open the night’s scoring, but neither resulted in points.

The Cowboys (4-3, 2-2) twice recovered fumbles at the Wiregrass Ranch 25. Thirty-five yards worth of penalties thwarted the first possession and the Bulls defense stepped up with a goal-line stand on the next.

Gaither’s lone scoring drive came in response to Buie’s 2-yard score. Jaedin Mendez ripped off a 24-yard run during a seven-play drive that ended with Chris Meadors’ 2-yard rushing touchdown.

The game remained 14-7 Bulls into the fourth quarter and Gaither had a chance to square things up after Wiregrass Ranch turned the ball over on downs at midfield with 6:37 remaining. The Cowboys couldn’t get much going, however, and quarterback Tony Bartalo’s third-down deep ball got picked off by Bulls senior Dorien Green.

Green’s interception was the second of the night for the Bulls, preceded by Jonavon Tillis’s third-quarter pick.

The home team made the second turnover count with Hayden Wills’ 30-yard field goal with 2:28 left. The Bulls got into Cowboys territory when Andrew Salum broke tackles and raced for a 44-yard run on the first play from scrimmage.

Already a two-score game with time running out, Wiregrass Ranch put the finishing touches on the victory when Walker got loose for a 57-yard touchdown run with 1:23 showing on the clock.

The Bulls have now won two straight and host another District 7A-8 foe, Freedom, next week.

Gaither gets another big District 7A-8 road test next week when it heads to Sickles.

SCORING:

G - 0 – 0 – 7 – 0 --- 7

WR - 0 – 0 – 14 – 10 --- 24

WR – Walker 65-yard pass from Helton. Kick (Wills) – 3rd Q (11:41)

WR – Buie 2-yard run. Kick (Wills) – 3rd Q (9:18)

G – Meadors 2-yard run. Kick (Mintzer) – 3rd Q (6:05)

WR – Wills 30-yard FG – 4th Q (2:28)

WR – Walker 57-yard run. Kick (Wills) – 4th Q (1:23)

TEAM STATS:

----------------------G------- WR

First Downs----------12---------7

Atts./Rush Yds.---33-120----25-135

Comp./Atts./Int.---8-15-2----11-20-0

Passing Yds.--------84-------148

Net Yards-----------204-------283

Fumbles/Lost-------3-3-------2-2

Punts/Avg.---------5-29.2---4-25.0

Penalties----------20-170-------21-185

INDIVIDUAL LEADERS:

RUSHING

G – Reid (14-88), Meadors (2-4, TD), Mendez (1-24).

WR – Walker (3-54, TD), Buie (8-24, TD), Salum (3-42).

PASSING

G – Bartalo (7-14 for 73, 2 INT), Meadors (1-1 for 11).

WR – Sessums (10-19 for 83), Helton (1-1 for 65, TD).

RECEIVING

G – Meadors (5-46), Chandler (1-11), Reid (1-21).

WR – Walker (3-86, TD), Helton (3-34), Biglow (2-31).

PINELLAS SCORES

Tarpon 35 Osceola 0

C-Side 49 Dunedin 0

Manatee 53 PHU 3

Tall. Rickards 32 East Lake 27

Bogie 44 Gibbs 8

P. Park 21 Lakewood 13

Dixie 48 Seminole 7

CCC 49 FAMU 6

Rockledge 55 Superior 0

SPC 35 N-Side Christ. 7

First Baptist 38 IRC 0

PASCO SCORES

River Ridge 62 Gulf 0

Fivay 56 Hudson 28

Z-Hills 44 Anclote 0

Mitchell 50 Wesley Chapel 6

Fort Myers 38 Pasco 0

Sunlake 49 Cypress Creek 14

LOL 41 Lakeland Christ. 38 (OT)

Z-Hills Christ. 17 Victory 5

Cent. Fla. Christ. 44 Bishop 29