Gunter knocks off Pilot Point
PROSPER — Ashton Bennett and Ethan Sloan contributed three touchdowns and also combined to sack Pilot Point quarterback Max Hollar in the end zone for a safety to lead the Tigers to a 30-14 win over the Bearcats to close out non-district play at Children’s Health Stadium.
The Tigers (3-1) have won five straight games against the Bearcats (2-1).
“We played a cleaner game this week,” Gunter head coach Jake Fieszel said. “We were locked in during practice this week and came out here and beat a real good football team. This win says a lot about our kids.”
Bennett scored on runs of 56 and 17 yards while Sloan took the pitch from quarterback Hudson Graham and sailed a 21-yard touchdown pass to Cole Lemons with 11:12 remaining in the fourth quarter to provide some breathing room.
It was Lemons’ second touchdown catch of the game. In the first quarter, the senior darted behind the defense and caught a Graham bomb for a 54-yard score to complete Gunter’s first possession. He finished with three catches for 108 yards and two TDs to account for all of the team's offense through the air.
The safety put the Tigers in front for good with 7:20 left in the second quarter. Pilot Point was pinned at its one following a 39-yard punt from Graham and the Bearcats had managed to punch out to their own five-yard line before Hollar was taken down in the end zone.
Bennett led the Tigers’ ground attack, rushing for 106 yards on seven carries. Between Bennett and Sloan, wh0 rushed for 55 yards on 12 carries, the Tigers were able to grind out long drives and limit the Bearcats’ time of possession. Five running backs helped carve out 287 yards rushing in 44 carries. And Graham totaled 14 carries for 81 yards from the QB spot
Fieszel said that since those running backs also play a role on defense, their ability to rotate them to run the football keeps them fresh.
Pilot Point, which came into the contest off its bye, kept the game close in the first half. Hollar’s 35-yard touchdown pass to Jay Cox with 11:17 remaining in the second quarter tied the game at seven.
The Tigers stretched the lead to 23-7 at the half when Bennett raced more than half the field with his first TD with just over two minutes to go in the second quarter, but the Bearcats were still in a two-possession game until Bennett’s 17-yard TD run at the 7:38 mark in the third quarter.
The Bearcats scored their final touchdown with 25 seconds left, capping a 59-yard drive that began with a Gunter fumble. Hollar found Avery Smith behind the defense to complete a 22-yard pitch-and-catch for the score.
Hollar finished with 93 yards and two touchdowns on 9-of-17 passing but managed just 18 yards across nine carries. Pilot Point running back Ish Harris led both teams with 130 yards on 20 carries and Cox had four catches for 53 yards.
It was the second straight week Gunter chose to have a home game at a neutral site in Prosper to allow for more fans to attend based on the increased capacity over its own stadium.
Both schools open district play this Friday as Pilot Point will host Peaster to open 4-3A (I) play while Gunter travels to Whitewright to begin 8-3A (II) action.