The Gainesville High School Hurricanes looked to win their first game of the season last night against the Clay High School Blue Devils. What started off as a more hopeful first quarter ultimately ended in another disappointing loss for the Canes.
The Canes chose to defer the ball and kicked off to the Blue Devils. Clay struck quickly with a kick return to the 43- yard line and an early touchdown pass to Payton Dykas. With the PAT, the Blue Devils took an early 7-0 lead. When the Canes got the ball back, they made a solid comeback with a huge third-down run by John Cooper. With the extra point, the Canes tied the game at 7-7. Gainesville’s momentum allowed the defense to come up big with a sack and a stop on third down to force the punt. However, the Blue Devils were able to bounce back with an interception by Payton Dykas, followed shortly by a running touchdown to put Clay back on top. At the end of the first, Gainesville was down 14-7.
End of the first quarter
Clay 14 @GHSHurricanes 7@ESPNGainesville pic.twitter.com/0S3gSpyvA2
— Jackson Colding (@Colding_Jackson) September 15, 2022
Hoping to change the pace of the game, the Canes made a QB switch to Matthew Williams. The Canes were able to get the ball to the Clay 15-yard line with the help of John Cooper but turned it over due to a blocked field goal. After a 3-and-out by both teams, Clay’s Payton Dykas made a huge reception to bring the Blue Devils to a first and goal. Dykas caught a TD pass from Merrick Rapoza for a 20-7 Clay lead. At the end of the first half, the Canes found themselves down 21-7.
Clay takes a 21-7 lead over @GHSHurricanes with a short touchdown pass @ESPNGainesville pic.twitter.com/e7elLn3oGh
— Jackson Colding (@Colding_Jackson) September 16, 2022
Looking to fill the 14-point deficit, GHS received the ball to start the second half. The Hurricanes weaved their way to the 3-yard line, settling for a 5-yard field goal from junior Cooper Badics, bringing the score to 21-10. GHS follows their drive with a quick 3-and-out on the Blue Devils, forcing the punt. GHS drives the ball to their own 45-yard line, yet falls short and punts to Clay.
Clay came into the fourth quarter with a full swing of momentum, bringing the ball down to Gainesville’s 7-yard line. The Blue Devils fumbled the ball on the 8-yard line though, creating hope in the struggling Hurricanes. GHS is able to get to the 30-yard line but is ultimately stopped by the explosive Clay defense and face a turnover on downs. On the 33-yard line. CHS pieces together a scoring drive off of the turnover with a rushing touchdown from sophomore, Merrick Rapoza, and an extra point from senior Easton Crain. With four minutes to go the Purple Hurricanes gave it their last effort to put points on the board but fell short with another turnover on downs. CHS was able to run down the clock following the turnover and ended the game with a final score of 28-10 in favor of the Blue Devils.