First-year Gainesville head coach Ian Scott has only been around for four games of a 15-game losing streak for his team. Despite that, on Thursday night he was as relieved as any player as the Hurricanes romped 49-21 over Santa Fe at Citizens Field.
Senior quarterback Kane Smith threw three touchdowns and rushed for another as the Hurricanes (1-4) pulled away early in the second quarter with 28 unanswered points in the second and third periods.
It was the first win for GHS since Nov. 5, 2021, when they knocked off rival Eastside 28-10 at Citizens Field.
Santa Fe fell to 0-5 and has dropped 26 of their last 27 contests.
“In this situation, these are the things to do to make sure we come out on top,” Scott said. “Now that we have that experience it breeds more hopefully. I told the guys that we have to do whatever we can to keep it.”
After turning the ball over on downs on their first possession, Gainesville got the ball back on the Santa Fe 43-yard line after the Raiders managed only a three-yard punt. After a long run down to the one-yard line by Eli Williams, David Wilbon punched it in from a yard out for a 6-0 Hurricanes lead after Eli Witt missed the extra point.
Santa Fe answered on a fluke play. Sophomore quarterback Erik Hockman’s slant pass was tipped five yards down the field into the hands of wide receiver Mike Cottrell, who outran the Gainesville defense for an 89-yard touchdown and a 7-6 Raiders lead.
Gainesville scored next as Smith found Williams on a screen pass for an 11-yard score. The Hurricanes led 13-7 at the end of the opening period.
Santa Fe responded on another big play as Hockman found a wide-open Matthew Johnson for a 70-yard touchdown.
But Gainesville took over after that, scoring 28 unanswered points. Caleb Young scored from seven yards out, and Smith ran in from three yards to give GHS a 28-13 halftime lead.
In the third period, Smith found Williams for a 54-yard touchdown on another screen to make it 35-13, and Smith got another screen pass to Decarion Debose for a 40-yard score for a 42-13 lead.
All that was left was a Gatorade bath for Scott after winning his first game as a head coach.
“I wasn’t expecting that (Gatorade bath) and I hope my phone is ok,” Scott said. “I got a football from my dad (assistant coach Randy) for my first win. I wonder how long he has been holding onto that?”