Gateway hopes to snap streak versus Central Catholic
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That's what separates the Gateway football team from the last time it defeated Pittsburgh Central Catholic.
The Gators edged the Vikings, 20-19, in 1996, and have since lost 10 meetings in a row.
Four of the losses have come in the playoffs, including the 2004 WPIAL title game and the epic overtime clash at Heinz Field to decide the 2007 Quad-A champ.
Gateway head coach Donnie Militzer said that while Friday's resumption of the series between the Gators and Vikings will be a challenge for his players, it is not a challenge they can't overtime.
“(The losing streak) is still hanging over our heads, but the games have been battles,” Militzer said.
“They are very aware that Gateway hasn't beaten Central Catholic since 1996. Friday is an opportunity for the players to put a stamp on this program.”
The WPIAL Quad-A quarterfinal game on Friday, set for Fox Chapel, will kick off at 7:30 p.m.
The undefeated and No. 2 seed Vikings rolled through the Quad North, and they took apart Baldwin, 56-10, last week behind a trio of 100-yard rushers in running backs Luigi Lista-Brinza and Riley Redman and quarterback J.J. Cosentino.
“Even though they aren't in our conference, it's such a great rivalry,” Gateway senior quarterback Jimmy Moore said.
“There's been so many big games between Gateway and Central Catholic. So many players that have gone on to every big conference in Division I have been a part of these games. It's going to be a great game, and we're looking forward to the competition.”
Lista-Brinza went over 1,000 yards rushing last week, and Redman surpassed the 900-yard mark on the ground. Both Redman and Costentino scored a pair of rushing touchdowns against the Highlanders.
Costentino is a 6-foot-4, 215-pound signal caller who has given a verbal commitment to Florida State.
“Cosentino's passing yards and stats aren't through the roof with the way they run the ball so well,” Militzer said.
“But if you cheat to stop the run, he can really hurt you. He can beat you with his arm.”
When the brackets were released, Militzer admitted some quick thoughts were directed at a potential quarterfinal game with the Vikings in addition to heavy preparation for last week's first-round contest with North Hills.
Gateway improved to 8-2 on the season with a 33-21 victory over the Indians.
“We talked in the preseason about facing Central Catholic in the playoffs,” Militzer said.
“We knew that if we took care of business, we would see them at some point. This is a game that wasn't necessarily on the schedule, but you could see it coming.”
Militzer said he knows it will be key to slow down the Vikings running game, and stopping the run has been challenging for the Gators defense that past couple of weeks.
North Hills' running game started out slow last week but finished with 222 yards.
“We need to score points to win games,” Militzer said.
“If we can stay somewhat balanced and get the ball into the hands of our playmakers, that's going to give us a good chance to win Friday.”
Gateway's passing game was lethal against North Hills, as Moore found the senior quartet of Montae Nicholson, Ricky Rogers, Delvon Randall and Anthony Davis on passing scores of 44, 19, 46 and 27 yards, respectively.
Randall added a 72-yard kickoff return in the fourth quarter to answer a pair of touchdowns that gave North Hills a 21-20 lead.
Moore completed 17 of 28 passes for 189 yards and three touchdowns.
He stands only three passing touchdowns shy of the school record of 26 set by Rob Kalkstein in 2009.
Moore also has 2,207 passing yards on the season, 188 yards away from Thomas Woodson's school record of 2,395 set last year.
“The first priority for me is to get the win, especially Friday against Central Catholic, but it would be an honor if I am able to break those records,” Moore said.
“Thomas and Rob were great quarterbacks at Gateway. It's an awesome feeling to be talked about with those guys.”
Moore said he wouldn't be able to do the things he does and has done without the help of the offensive line, strong running backs and elite, playmaking receivers.
“I give them all the credit,” Moore said.
“It starts off with the linemen blocking and giving me time, and the receivers have to catch the ball. The running backs come up and take on some of the rushers (from opposing defenses).”
Terry on the mend
Rahman Terry watched from the press box as his football teammates battled North Hills on Friday in the first round of the WPIAL Quad-A playoffs.
Clad in his No. 24 jersey, he enjoyed the back-and-forth action that eventually resulted in a 33-21 victory for the Gators.
Terry was moving slowly and using a walker, as he was only five days removed from an Oct. 27 car accident that resulted in injuries to his head, right knee and right ankle.
But he was happy to be able to watch his team play and glad he wasn't more seriously injured.
“It took me about 10 minutes to get down to the field from the press box (in the fourth quarter),” he said.
On Monday, Terry was at practice watching Gateway prepare for Friday's quarterfinal contest with Pittsburgh Central Catholic.
The 7:30 p.m. game is set for Fox Chapel.
“It's amazing how much he's improved, because he could barely move last week,” Militzer said.
Terry, a passenger in the vehicle involved in the accident, was thrown 40 feet from the car.
He received 120 stitches to close wounds in his head.
A two-day stay in the hospital ended with a surprise for Terry's Gators teammates on Oct. 29.
That Tuesday, shortly after being released from the hospital, Terry showed up at practice, and everyone erupted in cheers.
“It was a good feeling,” Terry said. “They were happy to see me, and it made me feel good.”
“The day he showed up (to practice) was like out of a movie,” Militzer said.
“The guys ran down to see him. They didn't expect to see him. The day before, we didn't know how bad of shape he was in. It was scary.
“We've had a lot less complaining about injuries. They see what he has gone through and is going through.”
Sophomore running back Adam White is one of Terry's close friends on the team.
“He has such a passion for football, and he really wants to be here for us,” White said.
“He still makes it to practice, and that's exciting to see. It's a blessing to be around him.”
Terry said he hopes that while he continues with the early stages of his recovery, he can witness more Gateway football victories this season.
“Everyone understands my situation and is very supportive, and they've picked me up from it,” Terry said.
Michael Love is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5825 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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