Warriors try to slow down speedy Gateway
How do you slow down a team that has superior speed and quickness?
It is simple, find an equalizer.
When Tony Dorsett was at Pitt, Notre Dame was accused of not cutting the grass. Other schools have been accused of wetting down the field.
That won’t be the case when No. 2 Gateway (1-0, 3-1) travels to Harrison City to play unranked Penn-Trafford (2-0, 4-0) in a huge Quad A South Conference contest. Warrior Stadium has an artificial surface, so footing won’t be an issue.
If Penn-Trafford wants to upset Gateway, then it must simply play better than its opponent.
“You just line up and play,” Penn-Trafford coach Art Tragesser said. “Usually in a game like this, penalties and turnovers decide the winner.”
Tragesser is well aware of the speed and quickness of Gateway. Senior quarterback Mortty Ivy, who has made an oral commitment to attend West Virginia, and junior running back Justin King, who is being recruited by numerous NCAA Division I programs including Penn State, are tough to contain. King leads the WPIAL with 725 yards and 11 touchdowns. Ivy has rushed for 221 yards and passed for 411 yards and 6 touchdowns.
Gateway has posted three impressive victories since opening the season with an overtime loss at Penn Hills. One of the wins came over Woodland Hills.
“They’re one of the best teams in the WPIAL,” Tragesser said. “They’re a solid team. It’s going to be a great challenge to see how we stack up against a team of this caliber.”
Penn-Trafford owns a six-game winning streak, counting its two victories to conclude the 2002 season. Their best victory was a 20-18 thriller over Kiski Area.
Penn-Trafford has only allowed 21 points in four games. Tragesser said tackle Aaron Miller and linebackers Kevin Mullen, Nick Padezan and Jim Robb have played well.
“We’re not a great team. We have no Division I prospects on our team,” Tragesser said. “We’ve worked hard, and things have gone well for us. We need to play as a team.
“We’ve had a lot of players contribute. A lot of people are coming up big for us at different times.”
Tragesser said the players have some motivation for not making the playoffs last year.
When Penn-Trafford defeated Kiski, the Warriors raced to a 17-0 lead in the first half. They needed a field goal by Dustin Pozzuto to pull out the victory.
Tragesser said the players are still learning the new-look offense. The Warriors use a no huddle, shotgun set. It’s similar to what West Virginia runs.
“It’s our own version,” Tragesser said. “The players are starting to get comfortable with the offense.”
Senior running back Blaise Abramovitz has rushed for 387 yards and 5 touchdowns, while sophomore quarterback Tyler Huether has completed 30 of 41 passes for 370 yards. He splits time with junior Mike Rasky. Tyler Stevens has 14 catches for 154 yards.