Gateway earns first state playoff win, advances to Class 5A PIAA semifinals
The early game jitters for Gateway didn’t last long, as the Gators erupted for a 49-30 win against District 10 champion Hollidaysburg in the Class 5A PIAA quarterfinals at Mansion Park Stadium in Altoona on Saturday afternoon.
The win was the first in program history in the state playoffs.
Gateway was only able to muster seven points in the first quarter on a reverse that resulted in a touchdown by junior Courtney Jackson. Hollidaysburg match the Gators with seven points of its own to tie the game heading into the second quarter.
The Gators — who averaged 37.2 points per game — opened the game up with 21 points in the second quarter. It was the usual suspects of senior Brady Walker and Jackson that provided the fireworks.
Walker gave the Gators a 14-7 lead on a 14-yard touchdown run less than two minutes into the quarter. After Hollidaysburg answer with a 65-yard touchdown pass from Brady Walters to Keaton Nolan, Walker and Jackson hooked up for their first scoring play of the game. The 53-yard score gave the Gators a 21-14 lead, and one they would not relinquish for the remainder of the game.
Walker and Jackson hooked up on Gateway’s next offensive possession from nine yards out for the 28-14 lead. They would take a 28-17 lead into halftime.
Gateway’s defense forced a turnover that set up its first score of the second half. After an interception, Davis found the end zone for the first time in the game. With the game getting out of reach, Walker and Jackson recorded their third scoring play of the game, a 35-yard score to make it 42-17.
Hollidaysburg recorded a couple of late touchdowns and sophomore JaQuan Thomas scored for Gateway for the 49-30 victory.
Walker finished the game completing 23 of 30 passes for 367 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for a touchdown. Jackson recorded 225 receiving yards on 11 catches and two touchdowns and a rushing touchdown
The Gators improve to 13-1 and will advance to the PIAA semifinals against District 3 champion Manheim Central and a site and time to be determined next weekend.