Davis’ 5 TDs power Gateway to win over Connellsville

Friday, October 18, 2019 | 10:19 PM

Behind an efficient, high-powered offense that produced five touchdowns in the first half, the Gateway football team coasted to a 48-7 final against Big East Conference foe Connellsville on Friday night at Antimarino Stadium.

The No. 2-ranked Gators (7-2, 4-1) received an early jolt of offense when quarterback Bryson Venanzio hit wide receiver Patrick Body for a 47-yard score on the team’s second play of the game to make it 7-0. The scoring didn’t slow from there for Gateway as Derrick Davis ran it in for a 3-yard score on his team’s fifth play from scrimmage to make it 14-0.

Connellsville (1-8, 0-6) battled back and answered with a score of its own when Josh Maher found Ahmad Hooper for a 1-yard touchdown pass, cutting the Falcons deficit in half.

However, from there it was all Gators as Davis pounded in the next four scores of the game on the ground en route to finishing with 12 carries for 124 yards and five touchdowns.

“Those plays of his, for a lot of guys, those are 4 or 5-yard gains, but he’s special enough to turn them into touchdowns,” Gateway coach Don Holl said of Davis.

“He’s really, really good. But again, I thought we executed well with him thanks to the guys up front, so credit goes to them, as well. They opened up holes and were able to get him freed up into the second level of the defense.”

Davis scored on runs of 3, 19, 3, 1 and 20 yards for Gateway. Venanzio was about as efficient as he could’ve been, completing 6 of 7 passes for 166 yards and a score.

Senior Tui Brown led all receivers with three catches for 100 yards. Body, a sophomore, tallied two catches for 60 yards.

Running back Jermir Harber also scored for the Gators on a 2-yard run in the fourth quarter. Harber finished with 49 yards on 10 carries.

“We’ll celebrate this one, like you do with wins. It was a great to give the seniors the win on senior night. I thought we executed pretty well. Tomorrow, we’ll hit the film and make some corrections so we can get back to work ahead of McKeesport next week,” Holl said.

The Connellsville ground game was effective for the better part of the night, with Ky’Ron Craggette running for 50 yards on 13 carries. Hooper, a senior, ran for 81 yards on nine carries. Hooper also caught the Falcons lone score.

In the end, though, the Falcons defense didn’t have much of an answer for the top-notch offense. Still, there’s little shame in that, according to coach Marko Thomas, who says he is proud of the way his team fought against one of the top-tier programs in Class 5A.

“I was really happy with how they battled. In past games, it might’ve not always been that way. But these guys put together some solid drives against a tough defense,” Thomas said.

“They’re fast, and they fly to the ball. It’s a tough defense to move the ball against. A lot of teams just aren’t able to do it. We did have some solid drives on offense, though. Overall, I’m just really proud of the way they continued to battle throughout the whole game.”

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