River Bluff rallies to defeat Gilbert, and remain undefeated
For the second straight contest, the River Bluff football team faced its biggest deficit of the season.
Just like the previous game against Lugoff-Elgin, the Gators used a dominant second-half surge to extend its best start in school history.
In spoiling Gilbert’s “Homecoming” Friday with a 42-30 road victory, River Bluff (5-0) scored 21 unanswered points to rally from 10 points down.
Gilbert capitalized off an interception by Cody Temples to take a 7-0 lead in the first quarter. Dre Cook scored on a 1-yard run on 4th and goal for the game’s first score.
River Bluff tied the game at 7-7 with a 4th and goal score of its own. Antonio Gantt scored on the first of his four touchdowns from a yard out to tie the game.
In the second quarter, a miscue on special teams enabled Gilbert to take the lead. As punter Braden Walker fielded a low snap, his knee was ruled down at the Gators’ 10-yard line.
Quarterback Josh Strickland found Wells Sykes for a 8-yard touchdown to put Gilbert ahead 14-7 with 8:58 left before halftime.
Gantt’s 6-yard touchdown run on fourth down with 2:49 left in the first half tied the game at 14-14. The Indians marched downfield to the Gators’ 3-yard line, setting up a 20-yard field goal by Ranjodh Cheema with 11.1 seconds left to put Gilbert ahead 17-14 at the half.
The Indians took the opening drive of the second half 76 yards for a 10-yard touchdown run by Jy Tolen.
The Gators proceeded to score on its next three series. It started with a 18-yard touchdown run by Walker to cut Gilbert’s lead to 24-20 with 5:56 left in the third quarter.
With 10:11 left in the fourth, Gantt scored his third touchdown to put the Gators ahead 28-24. After forcing an Indians’ punt, Walker scored on another 18-yard run to extend River Bluff’s lead to 35-24 with 7:14 left. He finished with a game-high 183 rushing yards.
Gilbert answered with an 80-yard scoring drive capped by a touchdown run by Tolen to make it 35-30. The Indians’ missed the 2-point conversion with 4:01 left and Gantt put the game away with 12 seconds later with a 58-yard touchdown run. He finished the game with 165 rushing yards.
River Bluff will have two weeks to prepare for its next contest Oct. 5 in “The Swamp” against fellow unbeaten Dutch Fork. Gilbert (3-2) opens defense of its Region 5-3A title on Sept. 28 at Swansea.