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Gilbert Indians drop AAA 3rd round playoff to Dillon, 34-7 in only loss of season

Indians allow 392 yards, turns ball over three times in season’s final game.

Gilbert, SC (James Bowers) - The Gilbert High School Indians Varsity Football Squad saw its season come to an end in bittersweet fashion, with a 34-7 defeat at the hands of the Dillon Wildcats at Tomahawk Stadium Friday Night. The main culprits in Gilbert’s loss were the pummeling DHS offense, which racked up 392 yards on the night and three turnovers including two interceptions and one fumble.

Gilbert’s offense didn’t exactly have a bad night, they managed 211 yards with more than half of that coming from QB Josh Strickland’s passing arm. However, the Indians were kept out of the end zone until 1:16 left in the 4th quarter, at which point they already trailed 34-0.

Stickland was 14 of 26 passing for 196 yards and two interceptions. WR Gage Sease caught two of these passes for 60 yards. DeAndre Cook, Peyton Loper, and Rab Reeder chipped in with 47, 42 and 36 yards respectively. Standout pass catcher Manny Bright was held to only 26 yards receiving. The Indians’ rushing performance was unremarkable, though it produced GHS’ only score when DeAndre Cook took it in from a yard out late in the contest. Defensively, Darrius Bell’s seven tackles, including two for loss, led the charge for Gilbert.John Fanning also added six stops for the Indians. Cody Temples and DeAndre Harris each had an interception for the Indians, while Jeremy Cintron had a sack to go with five tackles.

Dillon’s steamrolling offense was led by QB Jatiel Lester, who was 9/14 passing for 195 yards and a touchdown against two interceptions. Corrian Wright led the Wildcat receivers with 63 yards. TyQuan Porter also had two grabs for 41 yards and a touchdown. On the ground for Dillon, Zaeron Hayes only had 33 yards—and three touchdowns. Jalen Williams led the run game for Dillon with 17 carries for 85 yards. Corrian Wright also picked up a rushing touchdown for DHS.

When the final whistle blew at Tomahawk Stadium, Gilbert’s 2017 campaign came to a bittersweet end. The Indians had been undefeated up to this point, and won the Region 5-AAA title. Gilbert coach Chad Leaphart was emotional following the contest, embracing several of his players and supporters. “These kids have had a great year," Leaphart said. “We’ve had a lot of firsts in school history with the most wins (in a single season) and first region title. We’ll learn from (the loss), and we’ll be back.”

Leaphart added that both quarterbacks (Josh Strickland and Jy Tolen) as well as running backs DeAndre Cook and Cody Temples will be back for the 2018 slate. Key defensive pieces such as DeAndre Harris and Darrius Bell also return next year.

The Dillon Wildcats could win a trip to play at Williams-Brice Stadium for the AAA state title next week, if they can beat the Brookland-Cayce Bearcats next week in the semifinal game. Dillon will have home-field advantage in the November 24 game, which is slated for a 7:30pm kickoff.

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