TAMPA - A game that lacked drama throughout most of Friday night had plenty of it at the end.
Jesuit (3-2) and Gaither (3-2) assistant football coaches exchanged harsh words following the Cowboys' lopsided 35-14 victory at The Alumni Field at Corral Memorial Stadium. At issue was a timeout Gaither called with three seconds remaining in the game.
As the two teams met at midfield for the post-game handshake, players were quickly escorted to various points on the field as the yelling escalated. Gaither eventually went straight to its buses, while Jesuit gathered in its locker room.
Jesuit coach Joe Ross declined to comment, while Gaither coach Mark Kantor said he was merely giving some young players time to put something on the game film.
'We just wanted to get out of there safely and with our heads held high with a lot of class, and I think we did that,' Jesuit junior John Plasencia said.
Jesuit's defense was able to hold Gaither running sensation Jarvis Giles to less than 200 yards rushing. The Tigers just couldn't keep him out of the end zone.
Giles scored three touchdowns for the Cowboys in the first half. He picked up 116 of his 146 rushing yards in the first two quarters. It would have been 175 yards for Giles, but a holding call against Gaither negated his 59-yard sprint to the end zone near the end of the second quarter. Another Gaither holding penalty negated Toney Salters' 63-yard punt return for a touchdown in the third quarter.
Giles left the game in the third quarter after tweaking his right ankle, but said the injury isn't serious and he'll be ready to go when Gaither plays its first district game Friday against Mitchell.
'We're clicking at the right time,' said Giles, who credited the strong blocking he received from his offensive line for his high numbers. 'Those two losses we had at the beginning of the season, we weren't really on the level that we're on right now. The momentum has shifted and Gaither is rolling.'
In the absence of Giles, Gaither's Salters helped his team chew up the clock in the second half. Salters finished with 114 yards on nine carries. All together, Gaither amassed 413 yards of offense, 372 of that on the ground.
A Jesuit fumble near the end of the first quarter resulted in Giles' first score of the game. Cowboys quarterback Kamren Hawkins connected with Kornilous Donnell for a 25-yard reception to set up first-and-goal from the 3-yard line. Giles ran it into the end zone on the next play.
His second touchdown, a 23-yard run, came just before the end of the first quarter after Gaither converted a fourth-and-12 with a fake punt. The Cowboys' Austin Coates scrambled 28 yards for the first down that set up the score.
Jesuit responded in the second quarter by running down the middle of Gaither's defense. Jesuit's leading rusher Chris Kavouklis (17 carries for 72 yards) carried the ball seven times in the 11-play scoring drive, including his 3-yard touchdown run.
Junior Ryan James came in at quarterback for Jesuit near the end of the fourth quarter and rallied his team somewhat with 80-yard scoring drive that he capped with a 1-yard touchdown run.
'Jesuit played hard. They're a good football team,' Kantor said. 'A lot of teams would have just said 'we're done,' but they kept fighting back.'
Gaither14777-35Jesuit0707-14 G-Giles 3 run (Cattoi kick)
G-Giles 23 run (Cattoi kick)
G-Giles 39 run (Cattoi kick)
J-Kavouklis 3 run (Perhosky kick)
G-Moore 27 run (Cattoi kick)
G-Oyengunle 16 pass from Hawkins (Cattoi kick)
J-James 1 run (Perhosky kick)
TEAM STATISTICS GaitherJesuitFirst downs 1614Rushing 37-37232-147Passing 2-8-4113-22-124Total yards 413271Interceptions by 21Sacks by 21Fumbles-lost 0-01-1Penalties-yards 7-751-10