Gateway shuts out Penn-Trafford to clinch conference
Penn-Trafford's reign atop its conference has come to an end.
No. 2 Gateway scored on its first five possessions and cruised the rest of the way to its first conference title in three years by defeating No. 10 Penn-Trafford, 42-0, on senior night last Friday at Warriors Stadium.
Quarterback Thomas Woodson led the Gators (7-1, 7-0) with 322 yards passing and three touchdowns, while the Penn-Trafford (6-2, 6-1) offense was limited to just 94 yards in the game, 51 of which came on the ground from Devin Austin.
The Gateway offense came out fast, and despite a near interception by P-T's Brendan Reddy on the first play from scrimmage, the Gators marched 85 yards in 11 plays, including two long pass plays, to set up a 1-yard scoring run by Darin Franklin.
The Warriors put together a 10-play drive of their own to answer, but they reached only as far as the Gateway 36-yard line and were forced to punt.
Woodson then connected on a 55-yard pass to Montae Nicholson and a 30-yard scoring pass to Delvon Randall to put the Gators firmly in control, 14-0.
“They really killed us with their pass game early on,” Penn-Trafford coach John Ruane said. “I felt like we were in position; we just didn't make some plays. (Gateway) has been throwing the ball deep all year, and until someone stops it, they're going to keep doing it. Hats off to Tommy (Woodson); he had a great night.”
P-T's opening drive would be its longest of the half, as the Gateway defense tightened. Mileak Ford intercepted a pass by P-T's Dorian Stevens and returned it for the game's third touchdown, and the Warriors would manage only one more first down until the second half.
“(Gateway) executed, and that's what you've got to do to win,” Ruane said. “I thought our defense didn't play as bad as it looked. I thought our offense hurt us more by not controlling the ball and scoring, but I take credit for that. I've got to have a better game plan in place.”
The loss snapped a 12-game conference winning streak for Penn-Trafford that dated back to the 2010 season finale against Norwin.
The Warriors do get a chance to rebound before the playoffs when they go on the road this Friday for a 7 p.m. start at Hempfield (4-4, 4-3).
The Spartans are led by a tandem of talented quarterbacks in Ty George and the more run-oriented DeLorian Day, and the team is coming off a 42-8 win over Norwin last week.
Although Penn-Trafford is securely locked into the second spot in the conference, Hempfield will be pushing hard to improve its playoff seeding with a quality win that could move the Spartans past McKeesport for third place.
“We want to get some momentum back,” Ruane said. “We have a home playoff game here in two weeks, and though we don't know who it's going to be, it's going to be tough, regardless.
“Hempfield is a good team that has really changed its fortunes, but we need to get back on track. It's good that we play anybody (this) week before the playoffs.”
Matt Grubba is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5830 or firstname.lastname@example.org.