Working around their own early miscues, the Goose Creek Gators forced three turnovers and blocked a punt in the first half to gain the traction they needed to eventually win 28-10 over visiting West Ashley on Friday at John Fulmer Field.
Gators quarterback Emmanuel Mukuamu threw a 6-yard touchdown pass and scored on runs of 1 and 3 yards to power Goose Creek to a 21-10 halftime lead. He added a 6-yard touchdown run with under three minutes left in the third quarter after West Ashley’s fourth turnover.
“We played well on defense and our coaches had a great plan,” Goose Creek coach Jason Winstead said. “The kids executed and I’m so happy for them. They’ve worked hard for this and they needed this.”
The Gators (1-1), who hadn’t played since losing to Ashley Ridge 21-20 on Aug. 23, host Stall on Friday while West Ashley (1-2) hosts Wando.
Goose Creek was opportunistic on defense all night, getting interceptions from defensive backs Jekiah Wigfall, Jalen Daniel and Alex Dial to stymie West Ashley drives. Dial also hustled down to make a fumble recovery on a kickoff and Quinn Tolbert blocked a punt in the first half. The Gators blocked a second punt in the fourth quarter.
“We’ve got a lot of things to clean up but it’s never a bad thing when you win,” Winstead said.
In the first stanza, Goose Creek snapped one over the punter’s head on its first possession and the Wildcats turned that into a 7-0 lead on Justin Mazyck’s 10-yard run.
Initially, Goose Creek held but a roughing the kicker gave the Wildcats a first down.
After the Gators lost a fumble on their next drive, Wigfall snagged an interception and returned it 52 yards to set up Mukuamu’s tying touchdown pass.
Daniel’s interception led to Mukuamu’s 1-yard plunge late in the first quarter as the Gators took a 14-7 lead.
Tolbert’s blocked punt set up the next score, going out of bounds at West Ashley’s 3. Mukuamu scored on the next play to build the Gators’ advantage to 21-7 with 7:59 remaining in the first half.
Nelson Huggins booted a 42-yard field goal for West Ashley to make it 21-10.
West Ashley 7 3 0 0 -10 Goose Creek 14 7 7 0 — 28
WA – Justin Mazyck 10 run (Nelson Huggins kick)
GC – Damon Mouzon 6 pass from Emmanuel Mukuamu (David Cannady kick)
GC – Mukuamu 1 run (Cannady kick)
GC – Mukuamu 3 run (Cannady kick)
WA – Huggins 42 FG
GC – Mukuamu 6 run (Cannady kick)