By Mike Goodson/Sports Correspondent
A lightning storm hit Shinbone Ridge on Friday (Sept. 27) in the form of a revitalized Gaston Bulldog football team.
When the sky finally cleared, Wadley was licking its wounds and Gaston was celebrating a 47-20 homecoming victory.
The host Bulldogs racked up 454 yards of offense while holding the visitors to just 244 yards.
“Overall, I was very pleased,” said GHS head coach Swane Morris. “When we got the big lead, we got comfortable. Then we came out in the second half and gave up a couple of scores. We then did what we had to do.”
The sparks of Gaston’s offensive fireworks were running backs Shai Ogles and Jailyn Britton. Ogles carried the ball nine times for 139 yards with two touchdowns and caught two passes for 43 yards and a score, while Britton rushed 9 times for 124 yards and a touchdown. Braxton Collins finished with 11 carries for 39 yards and two scores.
Gaston (3-2, 1-2) took its first possession 79 yards in just four plays, with Ogles scoring on a 44-yard touchdown run with 9:14 left in the first quarter. Kyle Ballenger’s PAT made it 7-0.
On the ensuing kickoff, Taylor Hawkins caught a Wadley fumble and returned it 35 yards for a score to increase the Gaston lead to 13-0. The extra point was no good.
After a Wadley punt, Gaston drove 95 yards in eight plays, with Britton scoring on a 44-yard run to extend the lead to 19-0 with 1:55 left in the first quarter. The kick again was no good.
Collins’ 1-yard plunge in the second quarter made it 26-0. Wadley got on the board with Dakota Brown’s 18-yard touchdown run, cutting the deficit to 26-7.
Jordan Douglas completed the first-half scoring by hitting Ogles on a 13-yard touchdown pass as time expired in the second quarter for a 33-7 cushion.
Ogles scored on a 32-yard run on the second play from scrimmage in the third quarter to increase the Gaston lead to 40-7.
A nine-play, 72-yard drive by Wadley was capped off with Kamaury Avery’s 5-yard touchdown run. Gaston fumbled on the following possession gave the visitors the ball at the Bulldog 38.
Six plays later, Tyrese Sheppard’s 15-yard scoring run drew the visitors within 40-20 with 2:35 left in the third.
But Gaston put the game out of reach with a nine-play, 52-yard march that finished with Collins’ second 1-yard TD run of the game with 10:28 left in the fourth.
Douglas completed 6 of 13 passes for 118 yards.
Gaston resumes Class 2A, Region 7 play this week at home against Westbrook Christian.