ELIZABETHTON — Happy Valley was little more than Gaitor bait Friday night.
Daniel Boone wide receiver Ryan Gaitor scored three first-half touchdowns — one rushing, one on a punt return, and one receiving — and the Trailblazers ran away from the Warriors 42-6 in a high school football game Friday night at Happy Valley's field.
Boone (4-0) remained undefeated, but won't have much time to celebrate. A road trip to play mighty Dobyns-Bennett looms next week.
Happy Valley doesn't have the type of athletes D-B boasts, so things were tailor suited for Gaitor. He finished the game with 174 all-purpose yards despite getting only seven touches.
Boone head coach Jeremy Jenkins just smiled when asked about the type of player Gaitor is, and can be.
“We're very fortunate he is with us,” said Jenkins. “He can do so many things with his speed.”
This is first year of varsity football for the senior, and this was his breakout performance.
“It feels good,” said Gaitor. “I knew I had it in me.”
Gaitor caught three passes for 46 yards, had 56 yards in kick returns, and authored a 72-yard touchdown run on Boone's first play from scrimmage.
“I just heard the play call and I said to myself, 'Let's take it to the end zone,' ” said Gaitor, who raced to the sideline before cutting back to the middle of the field for the last 30 yards of the run. “I saw a couple of them coming at me, so the only thing I had to do was juke and cut back inside.”
Happy Valley punted for a second straight possession, and this time Boone went 87 yards in just five plays. Jordan Stout covered the final 52 yards on a well-executed and well-blocked middle screen for a touchdown to make it 14-0.
The third Happy Valley punt of the game was fielded by Gaitor at the Warriors' 40-yard line. Gaitor had a wall of blockers and waltzed into the end to make it 21-0 with 3:40 still remaining in the first quarter.
“The blocking was incredible,” said Gaitor.
Said Jenkins, “Michael Osterman had a great block, and Dustin Chandler had a key block.”
After the Warriors' next three possessions went punt, interception, and punt, Boone eventually got a 22-yard touchdown pass from Jake Littleton to Gaitor to make it 28-0.
Littleton ran the offense efficiently and threw the ball well. He completed 6 of 9 passes for 117 yards and two touchdowns.
“The key to this team is confidence and leadership,” said Jenkins. “Jake is doing a great job.”
Happy Valley had a first-and-goal at the 4-yard line late in the second quarter, but four plays netted zero yards.
The Warriors finally got on the scoreboard in the third quarter when Drew Holsclaw got behind the defense and Colton Haun hit him with a superbly thrown pass. The play totaled 68 yards and put Happy Valley at the 1-yard line. Haun's quarterback sneak produced the Warriors' only points of the game.
Haun finished 10 of 18 passing for 116 yards. He rushed six times for 42 yards.
Boone added a pair of fourth-quarter scores on Cliff Sanders' 35-yard run and Jason Hinkle's 7-yard quarterback keeper. Sanders finished with nine carries for 91 yards.
Sanders also had a pair of sacks. Chandler had nine solo tackles for Boone while Brandon Akers added eight.
“The defense played hard,” said Jenkins.
And now, the Indians await.
“We know we've got our work cut out for us,” said Jenkins. “They have all that speed, and Coach (Graham) Clark does a great job.”