Gateway finishes regular season unbeaten with win over McKeesport
The No. 1 Gateway Gators made a statement for the No. 1 seed in Class 5A Monday night.
The defending WPIAL Class 5A champions completed an unbeaten regular season Friday with a 34-6 win over visiting rival McKeesport to wrap up regular-season Big East action at Antimarino Stadium.
Gateway (7-0, 10-0) will be the Big East’s top seed when the WPIAL playoffs begin next week. McKeesport (5-2, 8-2) will be the third seed.
Friday’s win capped the first unbeaten regular season for the Gators since 2009.
“We are like so many other teams -- we just keep talking about being 1-0 every week,” Gateway coach Don Holl said. “We knew this was a big one, and it’s been phenomenal games with them.
“I’ve got nothing but mad respect for their program and what they’ve accomplished and how they are as a competitor. I felt like this was going to be a battle, and it certainly was.”
Gators quarterback Brendan Majocha rushed for 135 yards and two touchdowns on 30 carries and completed 14 of 21 pass attempts for 144 yards and another touchdown.
Majocha’s prowess on the ground was crucial as a steady rain began prior to kickoff and lasted for the duration of the game.
“The rain sucks and it’s cold, but we dealt with it,” Majocha said. “We adjusted our play-calling, and it worked.”
Gateway running back Derrick Davis and receiver Courtney Jackson added rushing touchdowns, and receiver Tui Faumuina-Brown had a touchdown catch.
“We have a rivalry with McKeesport -- everyone knows that,” Majocha said. “This is one of the most-hyped games we’ve had all year. It’s on TV and it’s everywhere, so the publicity was high. We knew that we had to come out and just do our job and win.”
Gateway led 7-0 at the half. McKeesport’s Quaran Sayles returned the third-quarter opening kickoff to the Gateway 16, and Devin Sims ploughed in for a 10-yard touchdown run at 10:57 in the third quarter.
But the Tigers mishandled the PAT snap, and Gateway maintained its 7-6 lead.
That seemed to spark the Gators as they scored the next 27 points to pull away.
First came a methodical 13-play, 80-yard drive that took six minutes off the clock and culminated in a Davis 6-yard touchdown run at 4:57 in the third.
The Gators then forced fumbles on McKeesport’s next two possessions. Faumuina-Brown scored on an 8-yard shovel pass from Majocha at 2:44 in the third, and Majocha scored on a quarterback keeper at 11:45 in the fourth to make it 28-6.
A Gateway interception set up Majocha’s 8-yard touchdown run as the Gators’ lead swelled to 34-6 at 7:58 in the fourth quarter.
“I appreciate my teammates so much,” Majocha said. “They work hard just like me every single day and it feels great to be undefeated.”
Jackson opened the scoring on Gateway’s first snap of its second possession.
He eluded a tackle in the backfield before cutting to the right and taking it 41 yards for a 7-0 Gators lead at 7:01 in the first quarter.
The Gators had chances to add to the lead but missed field-goal attempts of 36 and 35 yards in the second quarter.