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Gateway hopes to keep rolling against Connellsville

| Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012, 8:56 p.m.
The Times Express
Lillian DeDomenic | For The Times Express Gateway senior center Joe Robak and the other members of the offensive line helped the Gators have a successful night offensively. Gateway opened its season and Quad East slate with a 61-6 rout of Latrobe at Antimarino Stadium.

Gateway didn't roll out the welcome mat for Latrobe last week, as the Gators made quick work of the Wildcats at Antimarino Stadium.

The Gators compiled 476 total yards of offense in the 61-6 victory, while the defense limited the Wildcats to 146 rushing yards and nothing through the air.

Gateway head coach Terry Smith knows that while a lot of things went well in week one, there's room for improvement in a number of areas.

“There were stretches where we executed well and other stretches where we didn't execute the way we needed to,” he said.

“The kids understand that and are working to make improvements for week two.”

Gateway pays a visit to Connellsville on Friday. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.

The Gators shut out Connellsville, 40-0, last year and have put up some big numbers since the teams were paired up for conference play in 2008. That includes the 76-0 final in 2009.

But Smith knows that the Falcons — under the direction of head coach David McDonald — steadily are improving.

Connellsville made the playoffs last year for the first time since 2005.

“Connellsville is a very well-coached football team,” Smith said.

“We probably have a little bit more skill than they do, but they play hard, tough, physical football, and they took Kiski to the limit.”

The Falcons trailed the Cavaliers, 15-14, at halftime last week before Kiski scored once more in the third quarter and won, 22-14.

Connellsville is guided by junior quarterback Jade Maher in the team's Wing-T offense.

“He has experience, and any time you have experience at the quarterback position, you have the potential to be deadly,” Smith said.

“We have to make sure he's not comfortable in the pocket. There is a lot of deception in their offense with the Wing-T, and Maher is a very athletic quarterback. If he gets out on the perimeter, he can cause us some problems.”

Smith pointed internally to some points in his team's game that can be better.

“The kids played hard (against Latrobe) on a tough night,” he said.

“It was so hot and humid. We had a lot of kids cramping. Their bodies weren't holding up for the game. We have to keep working on our conditioning.”

Smith said the kicking game wasn't up to standard against the Wildcats.

“We missed two extra points, we had two or three kickoffs that went out of bounds, and we had a punt that went about 15 yards,” he said.

Smith also pointed to a couple of big plays given up by the defense during Latrobe's scoring drive in the second quarter.

But there were highlights, such as a senior Todd Jeter's 85-yard kickoff return for a touchdown that quickly answered the Wildcats' score.

Senior running back Darin Franklin, the leading rusher for Gateway last year, didn't play against Latrobe because of a knee injury.

Smith said Franklin could play against the Falcons.

“We're just trying to work his knee back into shape,” Smith said. “We're being cautious and making sure he can hold up to a full night.”

Fellow senior Jaymar Parrish started at tailback against the Wildcats, but leg cramps put him on the shelf early.

Senior Andre Martin got the bulk of the carries in a replacement role, and he fared well to the tune of 138 yards and three touchdowns.

“When your number is called, you have to go in and perform at a high level,” Smith said. “That is the attitude of the whole team. They all want to go out, contribute and win.”

Senior quarterback Thomas Woodson was an efficient nine of 12 passing for 195 yards and touchdown strikes to senior Mikeak Ford and junior Delvon Randall.

Michael Love is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5825 or at mlove@tribweb.com.

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