Gaither shouldn’t sleep on Chamberlain
Jeff Odom – Big County Preps
It was the year 2000…
George W. Bush was elected 43rd president of the United States, Shaun King was the quarterback of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Gaither Cowboys defeated the Chamberlain Chiefs.
For almost 11 years, the victory against the Chiefs has eluded the Cowboys and just because both teams’ records are on opposite ends of the spectrum, doesn’t mean an easy win for Gaither.
Gaither has taken a major dive into its new district Class 7A-District 7 dishing out victories against rival Steinbrenner, Freedom and Wiregrass Ranch all handily. But what is just outside of the teams grasp is that “W” in the win column against the Chiefs. It doesn’t mean they haven’t gotten close. Just one year ago, Gaither came within two points of winning, but fell flat. In 2009, seven points were all it took for Chamberlain to secure a 13-6 victory. The story drags on, 11 years, zero wins and a frustrated team.
But is this season different?
It’s the first time since 2007 that Gaither has actually been playing well enough to qualify for a district championship or even a playoff berth. That year, Dontae Aycock was showing off his arm and wheels to juke out defenses for the Chiefs and Kamren Hawkins was making passes look easy for the Cowboys. Not to mention Justin Lattimore, a 6-3 battering ram of a receiver helped Hawkins’ cause. But this time, the playing field is slanted.
Gaither is tied for the lead in its district and Chamberlain is tied for last. That doesn’t mean Gaither should take a week off before the standings are settled next week against Tampa Bay Tech.
While the Chiefs only clinched their first win last week against Wiregrass Ranch, the team is still full of talent. Junior halfback Xavier Johnson led the charge last week against the Bulls and has paced the ground attack for his team all season long. His 7.30 yards-per-carry mark has given defensive coordinators headaches all season long, as they attempt to formulate a way to stop him.
However, Gaither may have calculated that formula in the name of Josh Scarberry. The 185 pound senior defensive lineman has been a force in the backfield for the Cowboys against every opponent they have faced. His 9.7 tackles-per-game leads the team and he could be the one man to stop Johnson in his tracks.
Still, history has been written for a reason. The struggles and near misses for the Gaither teams of the past are still bright and alive in the minds of fans and followers of the Cowboys. But a win this Friday night could give closure to them. Just don’t fall asleep yet Gaither fans.
Odom’s Three Players To Watch:
QB – Shug Oyegunle – Gaither
The junior has the legs and the speed to outrun, outplay and out perform an already underperforming Chamberlain defense. Oyegunle’s ability to play any position asked of him enhances his leadership on the team.
LB – Josh Scarberry – Gaither
Offenses can prepare all week for Scarberry and he will still find a seam to attack from. His ability to harass the quarterback and stuff the running back will make Chamberlain switch up their game plan for sure.
HB – Xavier Johnson – Chamberlain
Johnson has been the only thread holding this team together in 2011. His playmaking skills and speed off the snap give the Chiefs a chance to make magic happen early. Unfortunately for Chamberlain, that magic found its way to the win column about seven weeks late.