It would be a mistake to overlook Donnie Gaskin just because he’s 5 feet 7 inches and 155 pounds. The Arbor View running back is tougher than he might appear.
“That’s the advantage to being short and small,” Gaskin said. “They don’t think I’m going to do what I do, so I just show them on the field.”
Gaskin rushed for 112 yards and two touchdowns to carry the Aggies to a 31-18 road win over Centennial on Saturday night in the Northwest League opener for both teams.
A sophomore speedster, Gaskin showed his strength while breaking several tackles and scoring on runs of 13 and 7 yards in the final four minutes.
Arbor View (3-0) fell behind 15-0 in the first quarter before taking control with its defense and balanced running attack.
“These kids believe. It’s a young team, and the youth might be a good thing,” said Aggies coach Dan Barnson, who started seven sophomores.
Taj Cole’s 70-yard touchdown run put the Bulldogs (2-1) on the board early in the first quarter, and it didn’t take long for them to strike again.
Senior quarterback Cody Clark rolled to his left and hit running back Jacobi Owens for an 89-yard touchdown pass with 4:52 left in the quarter.
But Clark gave one back near the end of the half. His throw to the sideline was intercepted by defensive back Marco Crete, who returned it 60 yards for a touchdown to cut Arbor View’s deficit to 15-10.
The Aggies rallied in the fourth quarter after Roderick Eason intercepted a Clark pass at midfield. About a minute later, Eason caught a 22-yard touchdown pass from Henry Hoffend, who attempted only four throws in the game out of the double-wing offense.
Eason finished with 18 carries for 110 yards.
With Arbor View leading 24-18, Gaskin took care of the rest. He carried three times for 69 yards on the Aggies’ final scoring drive, capped by his 7-yard run with 1:36 to go.
“Our linemen just worked harder,” Gaskin said. “I tried not to give up on my line and they didn’t give up on me. I never had a doubt in anybody. I was always confident in my team.
“It’s just a great feeling to come back and win.”
Clark passed for 190 yards, but his two interceptions proved too much for Centennial to overcome. The teams are tied for 10th in the latest Class 4A coaches poll.
“We thought we were ready for this game, and I thought we moved the ball well,” Bulldogs coach Leon Evans said. “You can’t make that many mistakes, and that was kind of our demise.”