Donnie Gaskin is tired of people doubting his team.
The junior running back and his Arbor View teammates probably made some believers Thursday night.
The Aggies scored the first six times they touched the ball and opened up a 45-0 lead en route to a 45-14 home victory over Cheyenne.
“This was a real game-changer for us, because everybody’s been doubting us for the last two years,” Gaskin said.
The win put third-ranked Arbor View (6-1) alone in second place in the Northwest League at 5-1. No. 8 Cheyenne (4-2) fell to 3-2 in the league.
Gaskin and the team’s offense were helped by a stout defense that forced four first-half turnovers and gave the Aggies a short field to work with almost every time they got the ball.
Walker Betilyon set the tone on the first play from scrimmage, hitting Cheyenne running back Tyler Spight in the backfield to force a fumble, then pouncing on the loose ball to give the Aggies possession at the Cheyenne 30.
Seven plays later Gaskin scored on a 5-yard run for the first of three touchdowns.
Arbor View’s longest first-half scoring drive was 41 yards, as the Aggies took advantage of the turnovers and twice stopped Cheyenne on fourth down inside their own territory.
“Defensively we smack,” Gaskin said. “We smack hard. That’s what we do when we go to practice, all we do is hit. We hit hard.”
Gaskin added TD runs of 15 and 2 yards in the first half, and Joey Comish returned an interception 51 yards for a touchdown to make it 28-0 with 8:35 to go.
The Aggies added a 4-yard TD run by quarterback Henry Hoffend and a 31-yard field goal by Brian McIntyre to take a 38-0 lead into the half.
“We had a good week of practice,” Arbor View coach Dan Barnson said. “The kids responded, and the whole week kind of carried over to the beginning of the game.”
Gaskin finished with 105 yards on 17 carries to lead Arbor View, which had 199 yards on the ground. Gaskin had 14 carries in the first half.
“We just kind of found a couple plays that were working and stuck with them in the first half,” Barnson said. “We took the ball back a few times and kind of just did what we do.”
Barnson said one of the beauties of the team’s double-wing offense is the ability to feed the hot hand. Thursday it was Gaskin.
“Elijah George and Jordan Mock on that right side were really double-teaming well, and Donnie just kept running behind them,” Barnson said. “It’s funny, because a couple weeks ago it was left. If it’s working, we’re going to go with it.”
Last season, Arbor View had a 21-8 halftime lead on Cheyenne before allowing the Desert Shields to get back into the game. Arbor View eventually won 60-58 in four overtimes.
“Tonight they didn’t want to do that, they wanted to keep pounding and sticking it right at them,” Barnson said. “And they did.”
The Aggies continued their dominance on their first second-half possession when Henry Hoffend hit Roderick Eason with a 68-yard TD pass on a third-and-14 play.
Eason caught the ball over the middle, made a move, got a huge block and was able to outrun the defense to the goal line.
Cheyenne managed just 35 yards rushing and 51 yards of offense. Myloe Lewis scored on a 2-yard run with 6:06 to go in the third quarter to put the Desert Shields on the board, and Cheyenne added an 85-yard fumble return for a touchdown from Joshua Battie for the final margin.