Gunter goes undefeated in District 8-3A (II)
GUNTER — The Gunter Tigers finished out an undefeated run in district play with a dominating performance on both sides of the ball in a 56-0 victory over S&S.
The Tigers produced 452 yards of offense while holding third-place S&S to just 60 yards for their first shutout of the season in the District 8-3A (II) match-up.
Both teams were locked into their playoff positions but Gunter (9-1, 6-0) avoided sharing the district crown with Bells thanks to their 34th straight district victory. The Tigers will open the playoffs with a bi-district contest against Rice at 7 p.m. on Thursday at Emory Rains.
S&S (5-4, 3-3) had clinched not only its first playoff appearance in three years but also the third seed for the playoffs when it beat Leonard the prior week. The Rams will face Blooming Grove in a bi-district matchup at 7:30 p.m. on Friday at Mabank.
Gunter relied heavily on its ground game, scoring all eight touchdowns via rushing plays and had seven different ballcarriers to collect 20 or more yards rushing. Ethan Sloan led the running attack with 10 carries for 92 yards and a score while Ashton Bennett chipped in eight carries for 69 yards and two TDs and Hudson Graham had a pair of rushing scores as well.
The Tigers defense also dominated the field, containing every attempt S&S made at moving the football. They held the Rams to 55 yards on 40 carries and only allowed 4 first downs. Colby McSpedden carried the ball 21 times for 29 yards. Gavyn Collins added four rushes for 20 yards and Jake Reynolds finished with 15 carries for six yards.
Bennett got the Tigers on the scoreboard in the first quarter with his first touchdown on the night, diving in from two yards out.
Saul Rodriguez had a 20-yard rushing touchdown and Sloan followed with a two-point conversion to put Gunter up 15-0 at the end of the quarter.
The Tigers added two more scores on back-to-back drives before half-time. Graham found an opening on a quarterback keeper and raced for a 16-yard touchdown.
On the next possession the Tigers took advantage of good field position. Graham found Cade Roller open down the left side, completing a 30-yard pass which set the Tigers up for a 14-yard rushing touchdown by Mitchell Brewer on the next play.
Graham finished with 143 yards on 6-of-9 passing attempts. Sloan had a pair of catches for 57 yards and Cole Lemons totaled 56 yards on three receptions.
Gunter took a 28-0 lead to the locker room and than added to it in the third quarter.
S&S was forced to punt from its end zone to start the second half and the Tigers took over at the Ram 33-yard line. Gunter only needed four plays to score once again, the drive being capped off by Sloan's a 22-yard scamper through the defense.
Graham added his second touchdown of the game on the following possession, finishing off a four-play 55-yard drive with a 13-yard keeper.
Bennett added his other touchdown with 3:13 left in the third quarter on a 5-yard rushing touchdown giving Gunter a 49-0 advantage headed into the final 12 minutes.
Adam Reed rounded out the scoring for the Tigers with 4:27 left in the game on an 18-yard run.
District 8-3A (II)