AURORA | The Gateway football team lost to Harrison during the spring regular season, but the only matchup between the teams that matters is Friday night’s showdown in the Class 4A state semifinals.
The Panthers’ 34-18 win over the Olys back on April 9 ultimately made no difference other than seeding — Harrison is No. 2 and Gateway No. 6 — as the winner of the semifinal contest at 7 p.m. at Aurora Public Schools Stadium is the one that gets to play for the state championship.
The Olys moved a step away from making the 4A final with a 30-27 victory over previously undefeated and third-seeded George Washington last week in the quarterfinals. It marked the Gateway program’s first postseason win since 2005, when the Olys topped Poudre in the first round of the 5A playoffs before losing to Grandview in an all-Aurora quarterfinal contest.
Made more impressive was that Gateway (4-3) — which is being coached by Justin Clyatt and Brendan Netherton — only got in one day of real practice before the game with the Patriots due to a potential exposure to COVID-19 in its season finale against Aurora Central.
But senior quarterback Erick Covington threw a touchdown pass to Kaden DeVault and rushed for two more scores and senior RJ Webster’s 2-yard touchdown run midway through the fourth quarter proved to be the difference.
Harrison (7-0) downed seventh-seeded Centaurus 34-6 in its opening playoff contest. The Panthers racked up nearly 400 yards and five touchdowns rushing in the contest. Harrison was equally effective running the ball against Gateway in the first meeting, picking up 383 yards on the ground and scoring three of its five touchdowns that way.
Covington was held without a touchdown pass for the only time all season in the loss at Harrison, but he rushed for 143 yards and three scores.
The Gateway-Harrison winners moves into the 4A state championship game — scheduled for 7 p.m. May 14 on the campus of Colorado State-Pueblo — against the winner of the Saturday’s 1 p.m. semifinal at All-City Stadium between top-seeded Thomas Jefferson (6-0) and No. 4 Falcon (5-2).
Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Colorado Sports Editor. Reach him at [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports
2021 CLASS 4A SPRING FOOTBALL SEMIFINALS
Friday, May 7
No. 2 Harrison (7-0) vs. NO. 6 GATEWAY (4-3) at Aurora Public Schools Stadium, 7 p.m.
Saturday, May 8
No. 4 Falcon (5-2) vs. No. 1 Thomas Jefferson (6-0) at All-City Stadium, 1 p.m.