Antonio Gantt and Braden Walker showed exactly why River Bluff is off to its best start in school history after a 42-30 victory over Gilbert Friday night.
The duo combined to rush for 374 yards and six touchdowns to help the Gators improve to 5-0 for the first time ever.
“The offensive line did a good job of making room for our backs so we just stayed with it,” River Bluff coach Blair Hardin said. “Those five guys up front do a phenomenal job and 6 (Gantt) and 24 (Walker) compliment each other very well. We’re fortunate to have two talented backs.”
Gantt and Walker had just over 100 yards rushing combined at the half but ran for 269 yards in the second half. After attempting 10 passes in the first half, River Bluff threw it one time in the second half.
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Gantt scored four touchdowns on runs of 1, 7, 4 and 58. He finished with 177 yards on 18 carries. Walker had 197 yards on the ground and touchdown runs of 18 and 17 yards.
“They wore us down a little bit,” Gilbert coach Chad Leaphart said. “Gantt and Walker seemed to get stronger as the game went along. We just weren’t effective stopping them in the second half. Things got away from us.”
Gilbert (3-2) led 17-14 at the half and increased the margin to 24-14 on the first possession of the second half when Jy Tolen scored from 10 yards out. The gators defense then clamped down and produced three straight three and outs by the Indians offense.
Walker scored his first touchdown on an 18-yard run with 5:56 remaining in the third quarter to pull the Gators within 24-21. Then on the next series, Gantt capped a four-play, 39-yard drive with his 4-yard to give River Bluff the lead for good.
“We had to keep pushing,” Gantt said. “We knew they had some people playing both ways and they were getting tied and we kept going at them. This is boost our confidence with Dutch Fork coming in after our bye week.”
THREE THINGS WE LEARNED
1. River Bluff proved they can play with anyone. The offensive line is young but physical and with Gantt and Walker continuing to impress, they will be a factor once region play begins.
2. Gilbert has lost two games to Class 5A schools and the difference both times had a lot to do with depth. The Indians will still be a factor when they only face Class 3A schools moving forward.
3. River Bluff has run for nearly 1,600 yards in five games. If they can control the ball and limit possessions for their opponents, they will be a hard out in the playoffs.
HOW THEY SCORED
G – Dre Cook 1 run (Rajan Cheema kick) 7:44
RB – Antonio Gantt 1 run (Braden Rivers kick) 2:33
G – Wells Sykes 9 pass from Josh Strickland (Cheema kick) 8:58
RB – Gantt 7 run (Rivers kick) 2:49
G – Cheema 20 FG 0:11
G – Jy Tolen 10 run (Cheema kick) 8:20
RB – Braden Walker 18 run (Rivers kick) 5:56
RB – Gantt 4 run (Cheema kick) 10:11
RB – Walker 17 run (Rivers kick) 7:14
G – Tolen 4 run (pass failed) 4:01
RB – Gantt 58 run (Rivers kick) 3:49
Rushing: RB: Braden Walker 20-197, Antonio Gantt 18-177. G: Dre Cook 12-37, Cody Peoples 9-44, Josh Strickland 5-9, Jy Tolen 8-49 .
Passing: RB: Rickard 7-11-1-63. G: Strickland 7-16-1-90, Tolen 7-13-1-81.
Receiving: RB: Da’Mone Spencer 6-68, Gantt 1-(-5). G: Matt Reed 7-113.