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Gateway earns revenge over Penn-Trafford

This time Penn-Trafford didn't celebrate its last-second kick.

Gateway's Darin Franklin scored two touchdowns and the Gators defense stood strong in Friday's 34-9 quarterfinal victory over Penn-Trafford in the WPIAL Class AAAA playoffs at Hempfield's Spartan Stadium. Penn-Trafford had four consecutive drives run deep into Gateway territory, reaching the 19-, 12-, 11- and 16-yard lines, but scored just three points on them, a bittersweet 29-yard kick on the last play of the first half.

On the other three, Penn-Trafford turned the ball over on downs. That in part was because Penn-Trafford star Manny Simpson was held to 73 yards on 25 carries.

When these Quad South neighbors met earlier this season, Penn-Trafford won, 16-14, with a last-second game-winning field goal. This time, it wasn't nearly that close.

"We made some adjustments tonight and got them off the field," Gateway coach Terry Smith said, "and gave our offense a chance to move the ball."

Franklin scored two first-half touchdowns, including an 86-yard punt return in the second quarter to give Gateway a 14-0 lead. His other was a 30-yard run in the first.

"We're coming together as a team and peaking at the right moment," said Franklin, who rushed for 56 yards on just four carries. The junior, who has battled a knee injury all season, was held out of the second half after getting hit on that knee.

Gateway led at halftime, 14-3.

In his place, Patrick Livsey and Andre Martin added second-half rushing touchdowns for Gateway (9-2), which will face North Allegheny in the semifinals. Martin rushed for 125 yards on 18 carries, including a 42-yard sprint that set up his 3-yard fourth-quarter touchdown. Livsey had a 3-yard run in the third.

But Gateway's defense was equally impressive, including a fourth-quarter touchdown by Graham Davis. The senior defensive back intercepted a pass near midfield, returned it 40 yards, fumbled it into the end zone and then recovered his fumble.

"I said coming into the game that the more-physical team was going to win, and that's what (Gateway) did," Penn-Trafford coach John Ruane said.

Penn-Trafford's offense ate away most of the second-quarter clock with 25 plays. Three times the Warriors had the ball inside Gateway's 20-yard line but managed just three points.

"We wanted to redeem ourselves," Davis said.

Zach Emerick led Penn-Trafford with 95 yards on 12 carries, but the senior quarterback completed just 4 of 20 passes for 39 yards. That included a 5-yard touchdown pass to Dylan Stewart with 8:57 left in the fourth quarter.

Gateway quarterback Thomas Woodson, who threw just two passes, rushed for 88 yards on 12 carries.

"We've been here, they haven't," Smith said. "Experience is a factor, and I think some of that showed tonight."

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