For most of four quarters, Gautier stymied Stone High running back Terrion Avery, who came into Friday’s game with 1,123 yards rushing and 14 touchdowns this season.
However, with seven minutes to play, Avery broke free. He gained 85 yards on his first 20 carries of the game, but one of his next carries was a 32-yard scamper that led to his 15-yard touchdown run for a 21-7 Stone lead.
Stone would add a late touchdown on a 17-yard pass from Preston Stringer to Nick Brown to give the Tomcats a 28-7 victory against the Gators in a key Region 4-5A game.
“This was a huge region win for us,” said Tomcats coach John Feaster. “This puts us back in the driver’s seat. We want to go to the playoffs and give the people of Wiggins something to cheer about in November.”
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Feaster said Gautier wasn’t doing anything special to stop Avery. The Gators were just keying on him.
“(Avery) needs to understand that he is not going to get 60 or 70 yards every carry,” Feaster said. “Sometimes you have to ground it out. He got some tough yardage tonight.”
Feaster also said the Tomcats (5-2, 2-1) didn’t do anything special to break Avery out in the fourth quarter.
“Our kids grew up tonight,” Feaster said. “They learned to trust what we were calling. When they trust what we call, sometimes things open up late.”
Avery finished with 142 yards on 25 carries and two touchdowns.
For Gautier (2-5, 1-2), the loss puts the team behind in the region race. However, coach Chris Peterson said the Gators were not out of the race.
“We still have four games left to play,” he said. “However, we have to win them.”
Stone dominated time of possession in the first half. However, the Tomcats were only able to take a 14-7 lead into halftime after scoring in the first quarter on a 1-yard Avery run and in the second quarter on a 10-yard pass from Stringer to Brown.
Gautier responded in the second quarter when Kameron Kincaid found a wide-open Sirshamus Smith behind the Tomcats defense on a 65-yard touchdown play.
Both teams struggled in the third quarterbefore the Tomcats broke the game open late.
Kentrell McCray had 81 yards on eight carries for the Tomcats. He also caught a pass for 17 yards and completed a halfback pass to Brown for 37 yards.
Brown finished with four catches for 111 yards and two touchdowns.
Trey Arrington and Colby Willis had five tackles each to lead Stone’s defense.