HOLLIDAY – Two foes very familiar with each other met for the fourth time since late 2017. And for the Gunter Tigers, it was a very familiar result.
Gunter scored two touchdowns in the first 6:11 of the first quarter and then held on to win a 20-7 battle against Holliday in District 5-3A (II) action.
It was the Tigers’ 24th straight district victory and they have not allowed more than a touchdown in each of their past five contests.
“I’m really proud of our senior leadership tonight,” Gunter head coach Jake Fieszel said. “I thought we had some seniors step up and make some big plays in big moments.”
One of those Gunter seniors was Peyton Lowe, who finished off a nine-play, 52-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown run to open the scoring.
On the first play of the ensuing drive by Holliday (3-3, 0-2), Lowe stripped the ball and returned the fumble 30 yards for the touchdown to give Gunter (6-1, 3-0) the early 14-0 lead.
“One of our defensive tackles pursued and held him up and the ball was just sitting there so I reached for it and it became mine,” Lowe said.
Holliday head coach Frank Johnson lamented the early turnover.
“The mistake early cost us being tied at half-time basically,” he said.
Fieszel raved about the plays Lowe, who had 11 carries for 45 yards, made early in the game and the coach hopes to continue to see big plays from his senior leader.
“He’s a special player. He’s won over 50 games as a varsity player and he’s a key contributor for us,” Fieszel said. “He’s a senior now and he’s the type of player who’s going to make big plays for us and we need him to continue to do that.”
Being a part of so many successful teams and so many wins is something that is special to Lowe.
“It’s something special,” Lowe said. “It’s not just me but it’s everyone who’s come up and being able to see the different athletes on the team has been special.”
Clayton Reed paced the Tigers with 15 carries for 87 yards while Hudson Graham chipped in eight rushes for 37 yards and Mitchell Brewer had five carries for 23 yards.
Bryson Rigsby had a four-yard touchdown run with 5:29 remaining in the game to seal the victory.
The Eagles were unable to run the ball all night, finishing with just seven yards on 27 attempts, and had to turn to the arm of quarterback Kase Patterson to stay in the game. He completed 11-of-18 passes for 107 yards with almost all of that going to Keegan Hutchins, who totaled 71 yards on seven receptions.
Patterson scored on a five-yard run with 13 seconds left in the seconds quarter to send the Eagles into the break down just seven.
Gunter now prepares for a big battle this week with City View as those two schools, along with Henrietta, remain undefeated in the district standings.
“It’s the type of game that you want this time of year and we’re excited to get the opportunity to play them,” Fieszel said.