Photo: Gadsden City’s Samuel Horton tackles Oxford’s Michael Battle during the Titans’ 17-9 victory in high school football on Thursday, September 23 at Titan Stadium. (Chris McCarthy/Messenger)
By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor
Gadsden City withstood a late score by Oxford to post a 17-9 victory in high school football on Thursday, September 23 at Titan Stadium.
The victory was Gadsden City’s second straight win and first over the Yellow Jackets (3-3, 2-1) in seven games, dating back to the 2015 season.
Trailing 17-3 early in the fourth quarter, the visitors drew within eight points on Samuel Robertson’s 12-yard touchdown pass to Mikey Tippets. The Titan blocked the extra point attempt, however, leaving the score at 17-9 with 8:28 remaining.
The ensuing GCHS possession ended on a fumble recovery by Oxford, but the Yellow Jackets went three-and-out. Gadsden City (4-2, 2-2) took over with 3:42 left on the clock, and a clutch 11-yard Luke-Waldrop-to-Khamari Smith pass on third down allowed GCHS to run out the clock and notch its second region win of the year.
Waldrop was 12 for 19 in passing for 182 yards and a touchdown, while Smith had five receptions for 90 yards. Mason Johnson had three receptions for 61 yards and a TD, while Clyde Curry snared two passes for 61 yards. D’Javi Byers paced the GCHS ground game with 42 yards in 10 carries.
Samuel Horton led the way defensively with nine tackles and two sacks. Malik Woods had seven stops, followed by Jackson Veasy and DeAndre Kirkpatrick with five. Elijah Taylor and Devontte Graham each had a sack.
The Yellow Jackets took the opening kickoff 80 yards – while draining almost 10 minutes of game clock – to the GCHS 15, where Rey Barrera kicked a 15-yard field goal for Oxford’s only lead of the game.
The Titans got on the scoreboard early in the second quarter when Waldrop’s 31-yard pass to Smith set up GCHS inside the Oxford 20-yard line. Justin Peoples soon took it in from three yards out, and Gabrial Britto nailed the PAT for the 7-3 lead.
Following an Oxford punt, Gadsden City put together a 73-yard drive that consumed more than six minutes of game time. Britto’s 22-yard field goal polished off the series and sent the hosts into the locker room ahead 10-3.
The first two Titan possessions of the second half ended in turnovers, but GCHS hit paydirt on the third. On the drive’s second play, Waldrop and Curry connected for a 56-yard touchdown pass with two minutes remaining in the third period. Britto’s extra point extended the Gadsden City advantage to 17-9.
The Titans resume region play next Friday (Oct. 1) at home against Tuscaloosa County.