No. 3 Gateway speeds to victory over North Hills

Friday, September 27, 2019 | 11:39 PM

No. 3 Gateway made quick work of North Hills on Friday, spoiling the Indians’ homecoming with a 40-7 victory at Martorelli Stadium field.

The Gators’ team speed was simply too much for North Hills (4-2, 3-0 Northern) in the nonsection matchup.

Gateway (5-1, 3-1 Big East) didn’t waste any time, blocking a punt on North Hills’ first possession and taking over at the Indians 9-yard line. On fourth down, the Gators scored on a rollout pass by Bryzon Venanzio across the field to Tui Faumuina-Brown.

“That’s what we wanted to prevent,” North Hills coach Pat Carey said. “This team gets on you quickly. They’re dominant athletically and big up front. You’ve got to weather the storm in the beginning, and we didn’t do that. They got the ball to their athletes out in space.”

The man responsible for that was Venanzio, who was as efficient as he was generous. Seven Gators touched the ball, as Venanzio finished 20 for 28 for 335 yards and five touchdowns.

“There’s a lot of decisions we put on that guy,” Gateway coach Don Holl said. “Some pre-snap and some post-snap. I think tonight he was very good post-snap, and when we look at the tape, we’re going to see he made good decisions.”

The Gators upped their lead on the next possession with a 50-yard screen pass to Chamor Price. Derrick Davis, the No. 2-ranked safety in the country by and also a standout running back, remained in the shadows early while his teammates shared the spotlight.

“It’s not just ‘give it to him and hope for the best,’ ” Holl said of his star all-purpose back. “It’s a read offense, and they weren’t going to give him the dive in certain zone schemes.

“Derrick is unselfish enough to know that when the ball comes to him, he’ll make plays. When it doesn’t, he’ll do his one-11th and help contribute.”

Davis eventually broke out on a 76-yard touchdown catch three minutes before halftime. Venanzio was aided by many of his talented wideouts gaining yards after the catch.

Gateway’s Tui Faumuina-Brown finished with two touchdowns: one rushing and one receiving. Jayden Hurt had five receptions and 69 yards and two touchdowns — all in the second half.

North Hills trailed 19-0 when Gateway’s Sonny Comunale fumbled a punt return, giving the Indians the ball on their 41. But North Hills couldn’t capitalize. Leading rusher Thomas McDonough went down with an injury on the ensuing drive and did not return. Tyler Tomasic led the Indians with 78 rushing yards.

Carey’s team remains undefeated in its section, and after being throttled by No. 2 Peters Township last week, he is ready to get back to section play.

“The conference games are what counts,” Carey said. “You play the third- and fourth-ranked team in the state in the middle of the season. … That makes for a difficult run, and you want to come out of these games healthy. So we’ll regroup. We’re not in bad shape.”

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