Penn-Trafford kicks out Gateway for victory
Penn-Trafford junior kicker Matt Loughnane was clutch, and the Warriors remain undefeated.
The dual-sport athlete — he also plays soccer — booted three field goals, including the winning 31-yarder with a second left, to lift Penn-Trafford to a 16-14 victory over Gateway in a Quad South clash Friday night at Warriors Stadium.
The field goal capped a frantic drive after Gateway scored to take a 14-13 lead with 1:40 left.
"(Before the kick, coach John Ruane) told me it was just another play," Loughnane said. "I already kicked two, and he told me to do it again. From there, I knew he had confidence in me. That just helped me through it."
Loughnane also was good from 31 yards in the second quarter. He connected from 32 yards earlier in the fourth to cap an 18-play, 75-yard march that chewed up most of the third quarter and ended with 10:28 to play in the fourth.
The win lifted No. 6 Penn-Trafford to 4-0 overall and 2-0 in the Quad South. No. 5 Gateway slipped to 3-1 and 1-1.
"It's been a long time coming since this team has won a big game, and they did that tonight," Ruane said.
The Warriors snapped a six-game losing streak against the Gators dating to 2001.
Penn-Trafford led, 10-6, at halftime and extended its advantage to 13-6 with the long drive. Gateway answered with a 16-play drive that lasted 8 minutes, 42 seconds. Junior Darin Franklin, who returned after an injury kept him out for two weeks, carried nine times for 40 yards on the 66-yard drive, including the final 4 for the touchdown.
The Gators decided to go for two points, and quarterback Thomas Woodson eluded several tacklers, changed directions, ran about 40 yards from right to left and leaped into the end zone for a 14-13 lead.
The Warriors got the ball back with 1:31 left. Quarterback Zach Emerick had two carries for 14 yards, Simpson ran for 9 and Emerick found Tyler Dudek and Mike Cumberledge on completions totaling 36 yards to set up the winning kick.
"We could've folded after Tom Woodson made that two-point conversion — what a play by Tom," Ruane said. "But they didn't quit."
Franklin finished with 22 carries for 153 yards. Penn-Trafford senior Manny Simpson had 121 yards on 26 attempts and a 20-yard touchdown in the second.
"That was classic, playoff-type football," Gateway coach Terry Smith said. "Unfortunately, our defense couldn't hold them, and they made plays. Emerick made plays, and their kicker was clutch all night."