By Mike Goodson/Sports Correspondent
Gaston failed to protect a double-digit halftime lead and had a late rally fall short in a 45-38 loss to Class 2A, Region 6 rival Woodland last Friday (Sept. 21) at Gaston.
The Bulldogs (0-4, 0-2) jumped to a 16-0 lead with 1:14 to go in the opening period while holding the Bobcats to -2 yards of total offense in the first 12 minutes of play.
Lane Talbot scored the first touchdown for the Bulldogs with a 5-yard run with 5:53 to go in the opening quarter. Kameron Hawkins (pictured above) scored the next TD on a 17-yard run to stretch the Gaston lead to 16-0.
Following a Woodland score, Hawkins broke loose on an 80-yard run and Gaston led 24-6 with 11:06 to go in the first half.
The Bobcats added a score with 6:10 to go in the half with the score standing at 24-12 at halftime. Hawkins had 160 yards rushing on 12 carries during the first 24 minutes of play.
A different Woodland team came out in the second half, however, as the Bobcats scored 33 points over the next 22 minutes to take a 45-24 lead.
Gaston finally dented the scoreboard with 1:21 remaining in the game. Quarterback Garren Brown found Malik Redmond for a 9-yard touchdown to cut the Woodland lead to 45-30. After a successful onside kick, a 48-yard Brown-to Redmond touchdown pass kept the Bulldogs’ hopes alive at 45-38 with 1:11 left in the game.
But Woodland covered the ensuing onside kick attempt and subsequently ran the out the clock.
Gaston out-gained Woodland in total yardage, 388 to 386. Hawkins led Gaston in rushing with 191 yards on 16 carries.
Gaston head coach Swane Morris took responsibility for the loss.
“We just did a bad job and had some kids out of position,” he said. “We just didn’t get them in the position we should have had them in, and (Woodland) just took advantage. Right there at the end, we knew we had to go to the air. Malik is a good receiver and Garren did a good job finding him. It shows what can happen if you don’t give up.”
Gaston travels to Class 3A Pleasant Valley this Friday (Sept. 28) for a non-region matchup.