No. 4 Gateway wins 8th straight against Kiski Area
Kiski Area football coach Dave Heavner used to teach history at Gateway. On Friday night, he was trying to reverse it.
But home-standing Gateway wouldn't allow Kiski Area to change the course of its troubled past against the Gators.
Class AAAA No. 4 Gateway (3-0, 3-0) turned four Kiski Area turnovers into touchdowns, including two pick-six scores — and returned two second-half kickoffs to the end zone — as it rolled, 43-25, for its eighth straight victory against the Cavaliers (2-1, 2-1).
Kiski Area was seeking its first 3-0 start since 2004. But it never got on track offensively and surrendered too many big plays in the showdown for first place in the Quad East at Antimarino Stadium.
“Gateway is a team of big plays; that's what they're known for,” Heavner said. “We had a nice opportunity tonight. I thought it was like a launching pad and we'd take off, but we gave them too many opportunities.”
It was a worst-case-scenario type of first half for Kiski Area as it allowed Gateway to take a four-touchdown lead, one splash play at a time.
Much-sought-after Division I prospect Montae Nicholson returned Kiski Area's first pass attempt 30 yards for a touchdown, but the extra point was blocked and Kiski Area responded to take a brief lead.
Quarterback Chad Kuhn picked up 43 yards on a keeper, and a face-mask penalty set up the Cavaliers inside the red zone. Justice Evans went in from 18 yards and Kiski Area peeked at the scoreboard leading 7-6.
But the Gators regained control as Nicholson caught a 14-yard scoring pass and recovered a fumble to set up a 15-yard touchdown play from quarterback Jimmy Moore to Ricky Rogers. Nicholson ran Kiski Area ragged, scoring three touchdowns three different ways.
“Montae has been doing this since our first scrimmage,” Gateway coach Donny Militzer said. “He does everything. He showed why he's one of the best players in the country.”
Devin Pinkett also added a pick-six and Zaihe Regus got into the scoring act for the Gators with a short run to make it 31-7 at the half.
“The good news for us is that we have another game next week,” Heavner said. “We have to regroup and get ready. We'll get back on our feet.”
Kiski Area also scored on an interception. Shane Kuhn picked off a lateral to open the third quarter and took it in from 10 yards.
Unimpressed, Delvon Randall took the ensuing kickoff back 95 yards to make it 37-14.
Adam Mitcheson made a field goal for Kiski Area, but again, special teams play hurt as Nicholson went 96 yards to balloon the lead to 43-17.
“Maybe we should have squibbed there,” Heavner said. “We'll learn from our mistakes.”
Patrick Turner scored on a 49-yard pass play for Kiski Area with 5:54 to play to cap the scoring.
Bill Beckner Jr. is the local sports editor of the Valley News Dispatch. Reach him at email@example.com.