Penn-Trafford stuns No. 3 Gateway on late 2-point conversion
The gamble paid off for Penn-Trafford.
As a result, Gateway’s perfect season is no more.
After an 18-yard touchdown pass from Brett Laffoon to John Guzik brought Penn-Trafford within one point of No. 3 Gateway with 16 seconds to go, Laffoon’s 2-point conversion toss to Devin Austin secured a 35-34 win for the Warriors at Antimarino Stadium.
“It’s unbelievable,” Laffoon said. “I’ve never seen a football game like this.”
Laffoon completed 11 of 15 passes for 155 yards and three touchdowns — and for a while it looked like it might not be enough.
Gateway quarterback Jimmy Moore was 13 of 29 for 389 yards and four touchdowns. Three of them went to Montae Nicholson, who had 252 receiving yards.
Delvon Randall’s fingertip catch set up Zaihe Regus’ 1-yard touchdown run to give the Gators a 34-27 lead with 2:16 to play.
But Laffoon marched the Warriors 63 yards on 10 plays to grab the improbable upset.
“I thought we had a real good 2-point play all week in practice,” Penn-Trafford coach John Ruane said. “We liked it, and obviously it worked.”
Gateway came into this one playing plenty of close games. The Gators had won their previous seven games by an average of 10.9 points, four by a touchdown or less.
Penn-Trafford (5-3, 5-2) lost to Kiski Area by 20 points a week ago, a game in which Austin struggled to find open space.
Not this time as Austin rushed for 179 yards and a touchdown on 29 carries.
Penn-Trafford’s win sets up a showdown next week with Hempfield. Both teams are 5-2 in the Quad East, and the winner can do no worse than third. Penn-Trafford can finish second with a win and a Gateway loss Thursday against No. 4 McKeesport.
Gateway (7-1, 6-1) forced a 13-13 tie early in the third quarter with a 22-yard touchdown from Moore to Anthony Davis.
Laffoon answered with a 5-yarder to Chris Stanford before Moore found Nicholson for a pair of long scores.
“When you score that many points, you have to win the football game,” Gateway coach Donnie Militzer said. “We have to clean some things up for next week.”
Moore hit Nicholson on an 82-yard touchdown pass on Gateway’s third play for a 6-0 lead.
Timmy Vecchio gave Penn-Trafford a 13-7 lead when he intercepted Moore and returned it 48 yards for a touchdown.
“Coming into this season, everybody wanted to see what would happen if we lost a game,” Militzer said. “So we’ll see how we react.”