The Sonic Drive-In Player-of-the-Game for Friday, September 21, is Niles Cromwell of the Gainesville football team.
Cromwell, a senior, carried the majority of the load in the Gainesville running game, leading the team in rushing and scoring the game-tying touchdown on a 3-yard run with three minutes left in regulation as the host Hurricanes rallied for a 24-21 win in overtime against North Marion (Citra) on Friday night.
He finished with 77 yards on 18 carries.
Nathan Reeves booted a 22-yard field goal in the first overtime period to win the game for GHS. North Marion looked like they were heading to the end zone on their overtime possession but senior Joleeco Gaskin fumbled the ball at the one-yard line through the side of the end zone to give the ball back to the Hurricanes.
Gainesville never led until the final field goal that won the game.
Gaskin scored two touchdowns from 1 yard and 10 yards out sandwiched around a Luke Matthews 10 yard touchdown pass to KZ Hutchinson and the Colts led 14-7 after the opening period.
Gainesville scored the only touchdown of the second quarter just a little over a minute before halftime on an 11 yard TD run by KZ Hutchinson and the two teams went to the halftime locker room tied at 14-14.
After no scoring in the third quarter, North Marion moved back ahead with 8:19 left in the final period on a 50 yard hookup from Colts quarterback Corey Wilsher to Brendan Shipp. But Gainesville came right back and tied the game again at 21 on a 3 yard scoring run by Cromwell with 3:45 left in regulation.
North Marion had two field goal attempts to win in the final five seconds of the game, but Tyler Stopford missed from 37 yards and after getting another opportunity after an illegal procedure penalty on the Colts, missed wide left again from 42 yards out and the two teams headed to overtime.
After the North Marion fumble in their overtime period, Gainesville gained only five yards on three plays but set up Reeves perfectly, who kicked the game-winner straight through the uprights.
Gainesville is 3-1 and has won three games in a row after an opening week loss at Columbia (Lake City). Next up for the Hurricanes is Forest (Ocala) in a District 5-6A game at Citizens Field next Thursday night. The game will be broadcast on 92.1 FM in Gainesville and 100.1 FM in Ocala.
North Marion falls to 3-2 but will also be back at Citizens Field next Friday night against Eastside (Gainesville) in what could be the championship game of District 6-5A. That game will also be broadcast on local radio and video streamed online via the Eastside athletics’ Facebook page.
Every game The Prep Zone will recognize a Player-of-the-Game. The recipient receives a $10 gift certificate courtesy of Sonic Drive-In of Gainesville & Ocala.