GUNTER — On Pilot Point’s first drive of the game, the Bearcats marched into Gunter territory with little resistance.
An offense that came into the game averaging 440.4 yards and 44.3 points looked the part, moving the ball almost at will.
But Pilot Point’s nine-play drive was quickly halted after failing to convert a fourth-and-2, giving the ball — and momentum — to the Tigers. The Bearcats never got anything going after that.
Gunter’s defense clamped down and held Pilot Point to just 128 yards for the remainder of the game, shutting out the Bearcats in a decisive 35-0 victory in non-district action.
“They whipped us up front,” Pilot Point head coach Danny David said. “It’s one of those things. They blocked and tackled better tonight. That’s why you get beat 35-0.”
The Bearcats (3-1), who have lost four straight in the series, only managed five first downs after their opening drive and were stymied for most of the night. Quarterback Jacob Pitts, who came into the game with seven touchdowns and 500 total yards of offense, was held in check throughout.
The senior threw for just 69 yards and also tossed two costly interceptions. Pitts’ first pick — a throw he made across his body on the run — was returned for a touchdown by David Denton to put Gunter up 14-0. It was the second straight week Denton produced a score on defense.
Gunter (3-1), which held Whitesboro to seven points in the prior game, led 21-0 at half-time and took the first drive of the second half 64 yards, capped with a two-yard touchdown run from Peyton Lowe.
Lowe scored three times for the Tigers and finished with 38 yards on seven carries and 31 yards receiving. His only reception — a 31-yard slant over the middle from Mitchell Brewer — was Gunter’s final touchdown that put it up 35-0 in the third quarter.
“I don’t want to take anything away from Bridgeport, Krum or Aubrey, because they’re good football teams. But when you play a team that’s state-caliber and has been to the state semifinals three years in a row, you can’t make mistakes,” David said. “They’re going to take advantage of them. They don’t make mistakes and beat themselves, and that’s more or less what we did.”
Clayton Reed kicked off the scoring with a one-yard run after the teams played to a scoreless first quarter. Lowe’s first touchdown of the night was a 30-yarder in the second quarter as the Tigers, who open 5-3A (II) action this week at Nocona in search of a fourth straight district championship, took control.
Bryson Rigsby led Gunter with 13 carries for 55 yards, Saul Rodriguez chipped in 43 yards on six attempts and Ethan Sloan finished with seven carries for 39 yards as the Tigers ran on 48 of their 51 plays.
The Bearcats, who start 4-3A (I) against defending district champ Brock, managed just 59 yards on 24 carries and were led by Javon Bruce, who had 11 carries for 42 yards.
It was the second straight season Gunter has shut out Pilot Point — last year’s final was a 21-0 margin — and the seventh time in the last 19 games the Tigers held an opponent off the scoreboard. It was also the most lopsided win Gunter has had against the Bearcats.