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Warriors' 40-0 win not enough for playoff berth

White County seniors spark rout of Gilmer to cap winning season

POSTED: November 11, 2008 5:00 a.m.

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CLEVELAND -- An emotional night that began with playoff implications and ended with 14 seniors playing their final high school football game wasn't enough to keep White County High from finishing strong, capping its season with a 40-0 win over Gilmer on Friday night.

Despite the blowout victory, the Warriors (6-4, 4-2 Region 7A-AAA) were eliminated from postseason play when Creekview defeated Chestatee 69-35 in Gainesville. A Chestatee win by at least 13 points would have given the fourth seed to White County.

But regardless of the disappointing end to the season, history was still made in Cleveland, as those 14 seniors will be remembered as the first Warrior team since 1983 that finished with back-to-back winning seasons.

"All my brothers played here, and I can finally put my name up there with all my brothers," senior defensive tackle Tasi Suaava said. "I'm going to miss all the practices and all the special times. I've been playing with these guys for 19 years. I love them."

The Warriors saved the last game of the season for what quickly became their most dominating effort of the season. White County scored 33 points in the first half and handled both Gilmer's offense and defense with ease, earning 308 total yards while only allowing 46.

"They just played outstanding," White County coach Gregg Segraves said. "They've been good all year, and they did the same thing tonight."

Running back Blake Limbaugh made the most of his last night in a White County uniform, rushing for 109 yards and three touchdowns on eight carries, all in the first half. He was joined in effort by sophomore Ashely Lowery, who rushed for 94 yards and scored a touchdown, also on eight carries.

"Blake and Ashely have been playing well all year," Segraves said. "They'll be the first to tell you that the offensive line is what makes our offense go."

Meanwhile, the defense stopped every aspect of Gilmer's single-wing offense. The Bobcats (0-10, 0-6) only managed the leave their own zone once in the entire game, and it didn't come until late in the fourth quarter.

On the Gilmer's first drive of the game, Warrior senior Robert Jones intercepted a pass from Gilmer quarterback Thomas Davis and carried it back to the Bobcats' 17-yard line.

Lowery scored a 17-yard touchdown following the recovery to give the Warriors a 7-0 lead.

Only three minutes later, White County found the end zone again when Chantz Segraves connected with Kevin Frederick for a 9-yard touchdown pass. Segraves split playing time with Tyler Dotson and completed four passes with one touchdown.

The Warriors took a 19-point lead in the final minute of the first quarter when Blake Limbaugh punctured the Gilmer defensive line and broke open for a 72-yard carry.

Limbaugh would follow his first touchdown by accounting for all of White County's points in the second quarter.

The Warriors also dominated the half with superior defense. Outsized by the White County defense, Gilmer only earned one first down and never made it out of its own zone in the entire first half.

Playing a more conservative second half, the Warriors allowed the clock to run by mercy rule, and their lone score of the half was on a 15-yard run by Ryan Kennedy. The freshman finished the game with 35 yards on four carries.

The game marked a complete season for both teams.



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