Gateway snaps NA's home win streak
Unlike its other close victories, Gateway will celebrate this nail-biting win wholeheartedly.
“I don't like them, but I'm getting used to them,” said Gateway quarterback Jimmy Moore, who threw three touchdown passes in Friday night's 35-32 victory over North Allegheny that snapped the Tigers' 24-game home winning streak at Newman Stadium.
With North Allegheny clinging to hope, the Gators recovered an onside kick in the final seconds to seal the nonconference win. NA hadn't lost at home since 2009.
No. 3 Gateway (6-0) wasn't thrilled with single-digit victories over Latrobe and Hempfield earlier this season. And Friday's effort was far from perfect. But this confidence-building win over No. 8 North Allegheny (4-2) had the Gators smiling widely.
“This gives us the confidence for these next three weeks and into the playoffs,” said Moore, who completed 14 of 23 passes for 284 yards and no interceptions. “This lets us know we can compete with the top-notch teams.”
Gateway's Delvon Randall scored three touchdowns, including a weaving 56-yard run on Gateway's first offensive play. His 33-yard run later in the first quarter gave the Gators a 13-0 lead. Both touchdowns started with direct snaps to Randall, a Temple wideout recruit who rushed for 115 yards on 13 carries.
Along with scoring a 1-yard rushing touchdown, Jeff Clemens completed 10 of 20 passes for 152 yards and two more touchdowns as North Allegheny fought until the very end. A 10-yard touchdown pass to Elijah Zeise with 1:50 left pulled NA within three points, but Gateway's Zaihe Regus recovered the onside kick needed to sustain the rally.
That was the final dramatic moment in a game filled with them. The teams combined for 67 points, four lead changes and six turnovers. Both teams had long kickoff returns and Gateway had a drive stopped at the goal line.
North Allegheny led at halftime 21-20, and Gateway entered the fourth leading 32-21.
A fourth-quarter safety and a 22-yard field goal by Seth Mancuso helped North Allegheny narrow the difference to six points. But a 21-yard field goal by Gateway's Jordan Washington with 2:10 left was the difference. Had Washington missed, Zeise's touchdown catch 20 seconds later could have won the game with an extra point.
Instead, Gateway won by three.
“I'd rather just put points up and beat the heck out of teams,” Moore said, “but I know if it comes down to the end, we can do it.”
Isaac Weaver had 112 yards on 23 carries and a 7-yard touchdown catch North Allegheny. Zeise, a Pitt recruit, had five catches for 116 yards.
After a scoreless first quarter, North Allegheny scored 21 points in the second. The Tigers took their first lead with two touchdowns 83 seconds apart. A 7-yard touchdown catch by Isaac Weaver was followed closely by a 50-yard fumble return by Layne Skundrich. At 10:33 of the second quarter, NA led, 14-13.
It was the first of three lead changes before halftime.
Randall's third touchdown, a 32-yard pass from Jimmy Moore, gave Gateway a 20-14 lead with 5:57 before halftime. Three minutes later, a 1-yard run by Clemens put North Allegheny ahead 21-20.
Moore threw two more touchdowns in the third. His first was a 47-yard throw to Anthony Davis that built a 26-21 lead that Gateway never lost. His second was a 63-yarder to Montae Nicholson.