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Fans invited to pep rally to send Gateway Gators off to Friday's state football championship

| Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017, 1:00 p.m.
Gateway coach Don Holl fires up the crowd during a pep rally before the football team's WPIAL championship win against Penn-Trafford in November.
the team. Lillian DeDomenic | For The Tribune-Review
Gateway coach Don Holl fires up the crowd during a pep rally before the football team's WPIAL championship win against Penn-Trafford in November.

Go Gators.

Gateway High School will host a community-wide pep rally at 6 p.m. Thursday in advance of its football team's state title game against the Archbishop Wood Vikings.

The team's journey to the championship started when the 14-1 Gators got through the opening rounds of the state playoffs with wins over Woodland Hills and McKeesport. Gateway then avenged its only loss of the season by beating Penn-Trafford, 21-16, at Heinz Field in November to win its first WPIAL title since 1986.

The Gators followed that up by beating Hollidaysburg, 49-30, in the quarterfinals at Mansion Park in Altoona and besting Manheim Central, 31-28, the next week in the semis on a late game field goal — the team's first of the season — by Jayson Jenkins.

Friday's game will mark the first time Gateway has made it all the way to the state championship.

Principal Pete Murphy said the school and community have been buzzing with excitement at the team's success.

“We had a woman drop off huge bags of Hershey Kisses — it's just been fun,” he said. “You talk to the seniors, not even the players, and they say this school year has been awesome. There's a good vibe for so many kids.”

The 11-year principal played football through high school and college. In 1994, he coached a WPIAL championship team at New Brighton High School. He said the vibe now is a lot like then.“I remember it brought the whole community together. And I'm feeling that again in Monroeville — everyone is paying attention and cares. It's great to be in the middle of it all.”

Dillon Carr is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-871-2325, or via Twitter @dillonswriting.

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