Gallatin successfully completed its three-game march through Wilson County’s Class 6A teams, beating Wilson Central 16-0 on Friday night at Wildcat Stadium as the Class 5A Green Wave moved to 6-0 for the first time since 2011.
Spencer Briggs had a 4-yard touchdown run for Gallatin’s first score midway through the first quarter. Trace Kelley kicked three field goals in the second half, hitting from 36, 32 and 41 yards, the final two in the fourth quarter.
Briggs finished with 85 yards on 26 carries, giving him 1,099 rushing yards and 11 rushing touchdowns this season. Coming into the game he had been averaging 203.8 rushing yards per game. His longest run of the game was a 10-yarder in the fourth quarter.
“Playing these tough 6A defenses is just getting us ready for the playoffs,” Briggs said.
The Green Wave were coming off a 7-0 victory over Mt. Juliet and also beat Lebanon 28-7 in the season opener. The final 6A opponent on the schedule is Hendersonville, which plays at Gallatin on Oct. 18.
Gallatin has won its past three games by shutout, allowing just 21 points this season.
“We just stopped their running game and made them try to spread it out passing,” said Gallatin linebacker James Mason, who had one of the Green Wave’s five sacks.
Gallatin had three turnovers (two fumbles and an interception), including Briggs’ fumble at the goal line that Wilson Central recovered in the end zone early in the third quarter.
“We have got to get better and clean up those turnovers if we want to make a run in 5A,” said first-year Green Wave coach Chad Watson, who is the first Gallatin coach to win his first six games since Calvin Short in 1976. “Mt. Juliet is more of a smash-mouth running team and Wilson Central is more of a throw it around team. Our defense did great stopping the run and stopping the pass tonight.”
The Wildcats (4-2) had just one first down in the second half, on a 14-yard pass to midfield with six minutes left in the game. Wilson Central finished with 13 yards rushing and 49 yards passing.
Gallatin’s defense forced just one turnover, an interception by Luke Springer to stop Wilson Central’s first drive of the game. Springer returned the ball to the Wildcats 25 and Jaden Williams made a 22-yard catch to set up Briggs’ touchdown.
Gallatin had 218 yards of offense in the second half, but came away with the three Kelley field goals. A touchdown run early in the fourth quarter was wiped out by a holding penalty, leading to Kelley’s second field goal.
“Kelley has been working his butt off to get better,” Watson said. “He has struggled at times but he scored (10) points for us tonight. He will be kicking on Saturdays (in college) for somebody.”
Gallatin quarterback Isaiah Briscoe rushed for 74 yards and completed 9 of 13 passes for 135 yards, including a 43-yarder to Jaylen Grimmett in the second half. But Briscoe left the game twice for a few plays, once after his helmet came off just before he was tackled at the end of a run and the other when he was tackled at the end of a 47-yard run down the sideline. He was replaced by junior Montez Banks.
The Green Wave return to Region 6-5A play next week, playing at Hunters Lane.
GHS - 7-0-3-6 — 16
WC - 0-0-0-0 — 0
GHS - Spencer Briggs 4 run (Trace Kelley kick)
GHS - Kelley 36 field goal
GHS - Kelley 32 field goal