GORE – Two teams undefeated in OSSAA class A-8 met Friday night in a showdown for the district crown. The Gore Pirates came away with a 33-6 win over the Central Sallisaw Tigers for the title and the number one seed in A-8.
Coach Brandon Tyler in his third year at Gore, said “It feels great for these kids’ man, I’m happy for these guys”. Coach Tyler noted “We were two points away last year down there and let it slip away”.
Weston Shanks, the Pirates QB and offensive leader, ended a sustained drive with a 10-yard run for the game’s opening score midway through the opening period.
Just before the first quarter ended, with just 13 seconds remaining in the first quarter, Central’s Bryce Edwards, who was forced into action as quarterback for the Tigers, broke free from the Pirate defense for a 32-yard scamper and a Central touchdown. The 2-point try was unsuccessful to bring the score to 7-6 as the 1st quarter came to a close.
Edwards, normally the Tigers feature running back, was forced into the signal calling duties due to an unfortunate injury to starter Hayden Caughman who was involved in an automobile accident on Monday earlier this week. Caughman, despite his injuries, was in attendance as a captain at the coin toss to start the game.
Shanks, down to a fourth and goal at the 1-yard line was able to complete a second quarter drive drive with the aid of his offensive line for his second of four scores on the night. “It feels so good to be district champions, we worked so hard for this moment” Shanks said “I’m just glad it’s here and we got it”.
A punt that was returned 70-yards by Jason Hubler for another Gore score with 3:33 remaining in the half and the Christian O’conner extra point was again good to end the first half scoring at 21-6 in favor of the Pirates.
Both team’s defenses stiffened in the beginning of the second half resulting in a scoreless third quarter. Coach Brandon Tyler noted “The defense stepped up when we had to, it was sort of a bend not break kind of deal”.
The Pirates will have at least two (possibly three) home games in the OSSAA playoff series beginning next week and Central Sallisaw will most likely have just one next Friday night