Gateway Football Relies On Defense To Win First Title in 31 years
In its first meeting of the season back on September 29, Penn-Trafford used their stifling defense to shutout Gateway. In their second meeting of the season on Friday at heinz Field in the Class 5A championship, it was Gateway that stifled Penn-Trafford, 21-16, to win its first WPIAL championship since 1986.
Up by five points with a minute left in the game, the Gators were able to keep the Warriors from scoring the go-ahead touchdown to solidify the win.
Throughout the game, Gateway came up with big defensive play after another, including an interception by freshman Derrick Davis in the second quarter, right after Penn-Trafford took over in Gateway territory with an interception by Matt Wilkie.
At the time, the score was tied 7-7 and Davis’ interception was able to be turned into seven points on a 7-yard touchdown pass from senior Brady Walker to junior Courtney Jackson. The Gators took that 14-7 lead into the half. Walker opened the scoring in the second quarter on a 10-yard touchdown run.
That lead was short-lived when the Warriors responded two plays later. After a 56-yard run by senior Cam Laffoon, senior John Gay punched it in from 2 yards out to tie the game.
Although only up seven at the half, the Gators controlled the pace of the game, out-gaining the Warriors 242-40 in the first half.
The Gators got some breathing room in the third quarter on a 7-yard run by Davis for a 21-7 lead.
The Warriors fought hard in the fourth quarter, bringing it to 21-16 on a safety and Gay’s second touchdown run of the night, but Gateway’s defense came up big to seal the win.
Leading the defense was sophomore Tui Faumiuna-Brown with a couple of sacks and a fumble recovery. Offensively, Davis finished with 59 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries. He also had 49 yards receiving. Jackson hauled in seven receptions for 84 yards and a touchdown.
Walker completed 24 of 33 passes for 203 yards and a touchdown, as well as a touchdown run. In the game, Walker became the third all-time in WPIAL history for passing yards.
For the Warriors, Gay led the way with 53 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
Gateway improves to 12-1 and will advance to the Class 5A PIAA quarterfinals next weekend against Hollidaysburg.