TAMPA — Gaither scored 21 consecutive points in the second half to secure a 21-14 victory against visiting Wharton in the Kickoff Classic.
Malik Huff and Copey Hargrove combined for 194 rushing yards to pace the Cowboys.
Wharton dominated the first half with a stellar debut by Torrez Nesbit (73 first-half rushing yards, 88 total) and an 11-yard touchdown. FSU commit Auden Tate had an impressive 36-yard touchdown catch at the end of the first half to give the Wildcats a 14-0 lead.
In the second half, Wharton’s offense disappeared, and Gaither finally gave its home crowd something to cheer about, scoring twice in the third quarter and once in the fourth, the last score coming with a little over two minutes left in the game when Cowboys quarterback David Mazur punched it in from 1 yard out on a sneak.
Huff (123 yards on nine carries) put the Cowboys on the board midway through the third quarter when he scored on a 35-yard sweep. Then, after the Cowboys picked off a pass on the Wildcats’ next series, Hargrove’s 28-yard run set up a 1-yard score by Decalin Brooks.
Wharton 7 7 0 0 — 14
Gaither 0 0 14 7 — 21
W – Nesbit 11 run (Sperringer kick)
W – Tate 36 pass from McAfee (Sperringer kick)
G – Huff 35 run (Hobson kick)
G – Brooks 1 run (Hobson kick)
G – Mazur 1 run (Hobson kick)