Late TD pass lifts No. 3 Gateway past Hempfield
Ever since the current Gateway-Hempfield series started in 2008, the Gators had dominated, outscoring the Spartans, 207-13, in five games.
On Friday, Hempfield made sure Gateway didn't roll like in previous matchups.
But at the end of the key Quad East game, the host Gators won in dramatic fashion.
Quarterback Jimmy Moore found wide receiver Delvon Randall in the front left corner of the end zone for a 7-yard touchdown with 39 seconds left to lift No. 3 Gateway to a 22-16 victory.
Gateway improved to 5-0 in conference play, while Hempfield fell to 3-2, both overall and in the Quad East.
“I'm proud of them,” said Spartans coach Rich Bowen of his players.
“Our goal now is to finish our last four regular-season games strong and see where we end up. I give Gateway all the credit in the world. Great teams find a way to win. We're close to being a great team.”
Moore was 4 of 4 passing for 92 yards on the game-winning drive which started deep in Gators territory with 2:09 left in regulation.
“Hempfield is a really good football team, and they are well coached,” Gateway coach Donnie Militzer said.
“I have a great deal of respect for (Bowen). He had a great game plan against us. We made some mistakes, but these kids stuck together, and that was a great win.”
Moore finished 16 of 35 for 285 yards and three touchdowns. He connected with Anthony Davis on a 61-yard scoring strike in the first quarter and added an 11-yard TD pass to Montae Nicholson in the third quarter.
“Jimmy is a tough kid,” Militzer said. “He was encouraging when there were some dropped passes, and he bounced back when he made some bad throws.”
Gateway led 8-0 in the first quarter, but Hempfield rallied with a 33-yard touchdown run from quarterback Ty George and a 20-yard field goal from John Domit to take a 9-8 advantage into halftime.
After an 80-yard kickoff return by Delvon Randall to start the second half, Gateway took over at the Hempfield 20-yard line.
However, the Spartans held the Gators on downs.
Hempfield took over and moved the ball to the Gateway 42, and Spartans tailback Joey DeFloria did the rest with a 42-yard scamper to the end zone. The two-point conversion made it 16-8 with 7:37 to play in the third.
DeFloria finished with 143 yards on 33 carries. He now has 791 yards rushing in five games.
“Joey had some tough yards tonight,” Bowen said. “It was a gutsy performance from him.”
Gateway closed to within 16-14 with 2:28 left in the quarter on the Moore-to-Nicholson TD pass. Gators linebacker Zaihe Regus set up the scoring drive with an interception of George at the Hempfield 44.
Hempfield had a 34-yard first-quarter touchdown pass from George to DeFloria called back because of a holding penalty. Domit also missed a 34-yard field-goal attempt earlier in the quarter.
Michael Love is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5825 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.