West Allegheny Shocks Top-Seed Gateway in Class 5A Semifinals
It was almost a foregone conclusion when the Class 5A bracket was revealed that the defending champion and top-seed Gateway Gators were going to play for another WPIAL championship.
Through its first 12 games of the season, Gateway outscored its opponents 593-50.
That didn’t phase West Allegheny, Led by future Hall of Fame head coach Bob Palko, the No. 5 Indians knocked off the Gators, 42-28, in the semifinals at West Mifflin High School.
After trailing 28-21 in the third quarter, West Allegheny scored 21 unanswered points in the third and fourth quarter to, while shutting out Gateway in the fourth quarter to seal the win.
Gateway got on the board first in the second quarter with a 16-yard touchdown run by senior quarterback, Brendan Majocha. West Allegheny responded with two touchdowns in the quarter to take its first lead.
The Indians first scoring drive was capped off by a 5-yard run by sophomore Nico Flati. West Allegheny found the end zone again, this time through the air, on a 25-yard connection from junior quarterback Kam Kruze to senior tight end Mateo Vandamia.
Gateway responded before the half with a 40-yard pass from Majocha to senior wide receiver Courtney Jackson, making the score 14-14 at the half.
West Allegheny started the scoring in the second with Flati’s second short touchdown run of the game, this time from four yards out.
The back-and-forth battle continued with Gateway scoring the next two touchdowns in the third quarter. Sophomore Derrick Davis scored on a 2-yard rush before catching a 56-yard pass from Majocha for the 28-21 lead.
From that point on, it was all West Allegheny. The Indians ended the scoring in the third quarter on game-tying 75-yard touchdown from Kruze to senior Dre’Von Baldwin.
West Allegheny scored the game-winning touchdown on a 27-yard touchdown pass from Kruze to Flati on fourth-and-2. The scored followed a successful onside kick attempt by the Indians.
Flati put the finishing touches with his fourth touchdown of the game, a 25-yard run to make it 42-28. Flati finished the game 136 yards on 21 carries.
Kruze finished 6 of 10 for 141 yards and two touchdowns, as well as 57 yards on 12 carries. Senior John McArdle was perfect on his extra points on the night, going 6 for 6.
West Allegheny improves to 10-2 and will face No. 2 Penn Hills in the Class 5A Championship Game at Norwin High School on Friday at 7:30 p.m.