Gunter gets tested by Whitesboro
WHITESBORO — A fast start was all the Gunter Tigers needed, and it was needed because the Whitesboro Bearcats forced three turnovers and held the second-ranked team in the state under 30 points.
But Gunter put together a third straight strong defensive effort itself, allowing just a single touchdown for the third straight week in a 28-6 victory over Whitesboro in non-district action.
The Tigers (3-0) held a 21-0 advantage after the first quarter and finished with nearly 450 yards. Whitesboro (1-2) managed to limit the damage and keep Gunter from its third straight blowout victory.
Ethan Sloan had 13 carries for 143 yards and a touchdown, Ashton Bennett ran for 67 yards and a score on five carries, Cole Lemons caught five passes for 57 yards and a TD, Kaden Rigsby chipped in three carries for 36 yards and a touchdown and Hudson Graham threw for 72 yards and ran for 84 for Gunter, which ends non-district play at Pilot Point on Friday night.
Mac Harper was 13-of-28 passing for 178 yards with a touchdown and an interception, Jace Sanders finished with five catches for 110 yards and a TD, Torran Naglestad added four receptions for 37 yards and Greyson Ledbetter ran 16 times for 45 yards for Whitesboro, which has its bye Friday before opening District 4-3A (I) play.
Gunter deferred to the second half and opened the game by holding Whitesboro before taking possession.
The Tigers quickly jumped to the lead when Graham connected with Lemons for a 33-yard touchdown less than four minutes into the contest.
Another stop against Whitesboro set up the Tigers to take a 14-0 advantage and they did on Ethan Sloan's 44-yard run two minutes later.
Rigsby's 30-yard run right up the middle pushed the margin to 21-0 with just over five minutes remaining in the first and it looked like a carbon copy of Gunter's first two games that ended with 43-7 and 51-7 scores and almost all of the damage being done through two quarters.
But the Bearcats battled to keep the deficit there. They held the Tigers scoreless in the second quarter, including Kayden Unclebach recovering a fumble near the goal line as Gunter was about to score.
Harper was leading a drive before the break to put Whitesboro on the board but Cade Dodson came away with an interception.
Logan Hubbard's 38-yard field goal attempt missed the mark and the 21-0 margin remained into the second half.
The teams traded possessions in the third quarter and penalties hurt both sides as they tried to produce points.
It took until the middle of the fourth quarter for the score to finally change.
With 6:29 left in the contest, Harper connected with Sanders on a 75-yard TD pass. It provided an opening for the Bearcats but Gunter never allowed Whitesboro to get any closer.
Bennett sealed the victory with his 16-yard touchdown run with 1:40 left on the clock.