Football: Gateway holds off Smoky Hill, former coach for 28-25 victory

Gateway-Smoky Hill Football 8.30,13
Gateway’s Quintavis Styles (1) races to the sideline as Smoky Hill’s Victor Sweeney (8) tries to cut him off during the second quarter of the Olys’ 28-25 non-league football victory over the Buffs on Aug. 30, 2013, at Aurora Public Schools Stadium. (Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)

AURORA | Justin Hoffman used to love to run the football when he coached at Gateway.

Standing on the other sideline Friday at Aurora Public Schools Stadium, Hoffman saw a heavy dose of the ground game from his former team, as the Olys piled up more than 400 yards against his Smoky Hill team in an emotional 28-25 victory.

New Gateway coach Ashour Peera — who came from Northwestern High School in Miami — had been expected to run a more spread type of offense, but stuck with a ground game that saw senior Isaac Fuqua rack up 170 yards and two touchdowns and senior quarterback Lance Savage rush for 90 and a score.

“I spent 16 years of my life over there, so it was hard to see those guys and not feel anything,” Hoffman said about Gateway, where he coached 10 years as an assistant and the last six as head coach before taking the Smoky Hill job in February.

Fuqua didn’t run the ball when Hoffman was Gateway, but in his new role as one of the primary ballcarriers for the Olys, the 5-foot-10, 185-pounder handled himself well.

He piled up 118 yards rushing in the first half with a touchdown and scored again on a 15-yard run in the third quarter that turned out to be the winning points for the Olys.

“It was intense a little bit,” Fuqua said of playing against Hoffman. “The emotions were pretty high so we just wanted to come out and beat him.”

Despite a forgettable first half that included two lost fumbles and a interception thrown by quarterback Trent Clay, Hoffman’s Smoky Hill team showed resolve in the second half.

Sparkplug senior Isaiah Alexander scored two long touchdowns on consecutive rushes in the third quarter — scores of 49 and 75 yards — and kept the Buffs within striking range.

A botched snap on a potential 39-yard field goal attempt early in the fourth quarter kept Smoky Hill from making up even more ground facing a 28-18 deficit, but it got another chance when Peera chose to try to pick up a fourth-and-5 from Gateway’s own 22-yard line rather than punt with less than a minute remaining.

Savage was stopped short of the first down and it took just two plays for Clay to dump the ball off to Alexander, who streaked 27 yards to a touchdown to make it a three-point game with 39.6 seconds left.

Markese Briggs fielded Smoky Hill’s onside kick attempt, however, and the Olys ran out the clock to give Peera a win in his debut.

Calvin Weber had a 37-yard touchdown run in the second quarter for Gateway, which had its biggest lead of 16 points (at 28-12) midway through the third quarter.

Hoffman saw some great performances by Alexander, along with Clay — who rushed for a touchdown and threw for 197 yards — and receiver Frank Thomas (46), but he also thought his team shrunk in too many crucial moments as had been in the case in the past.

“We have to learn how to win, flat out,” Hoffman said. “We’ve got to find a winning reflex. …We’re in a position to make plays and don’t make them. It just takes practice. Those kids at Gateway have been doing those things right for a long time and they were able to make some big plays. We just have to learn how to win, especially tough games like this.

“There’s a lot of things that we can take away from this. I’m a teacher, so I’m going to go back and just teach, teach, teach.”

Fuqua was encouraged by Gateway’s play — other than a few turnovers — and believes the team has a lot of potential.

“The confidence level is pretty high right now, but we just need to go to work on Monday and fix some mistakes,” he said.


Score by quarters:

Smoky Hill  6  0  12  7 — 25

Gateway      7  14  7  0 — 28


First quarter

Gateway — Lance Savage 1 yard run (John Oquendo kick), 5:40

Smoky Hill — Trent Clay 6 yard run (kick failed), 10.3

Second quarter

Gateway — Calvin Weber 37 yard run (Oquendo kick), 8:48

Gateway — Isaac Fuqua 6 yard run (Oquendo kick), 15.4

Third quarter

Smoky Hill — Isaiah Alexander 49 yard run (run failed), 10:36

Gateway — Fuqua 15 yard run (Oquendo kick), 5:29

Smoky Hill — Alexander 75 yard run (pass failed), 5:06

Fourth quarter

Smoky Hill — Alexander 27 yard pass from Clay (Annika Edgington kick), 39.6

Courtney Oakes is Sports Editor of the Aurora Sentinel. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. Facebook: Aurora Prep Sentinel

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8 years ago

Go Olys!