Football: Gateway survives last-second kick to top visiting Grand Junction 43-41

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AURORA | The Gateway football team never experienced the taste of victory in 2014 in the first year under new head coach Shane Ward, but the Olys have begun to know what it feels like in 2015.

Gateway capped the regular season Saturday night with an epic 43-41 South Metro League win over visiting Grand Junction at Aurora Public Schools Stadium, picking up their third victory of the season when the Tigers’ last-second winning field goal attempt sailed wide.

GATEWAYSenior quarterback CJ Sanders rushed for 235 yards and three touchdowns, including a 1-yard plunge with 3 minutes, 47 seconds, left in regulation that stood up as the winning points as Ward’s team avenged a 30-point loss to Grand Junction last season and finished the regular season 3-6 overall and 3-3 in league play.

Senior Dylan Paulsen caught Sanders’ lone touchdown pass and also returned a kickoff 95 yards for a score in the fourth quarter and senior Thomas Boles also got into the end zone for the Olys.

Unless there is a radical change in wild card points, neither Gateway nor Grand Junction (2-7, 1-5) will be included in the 32-team 5A playoff bracket that will be announced Sunday by the Colorado High School Activities Association, but they will get a non-playoff Week 10 game if that is the case.

The Olys might be able to push their win total even higher in that game if they play the way they did against the Tigers.

Sanders, whose rushing performance brought him within six yards of 1,000 on the ground for the season, scored on runs of 15 and 50 yards in the second quarter when Gateway rallied from a 21-7 deficit to within 21-20 at the break.

Jose Pizana made a 36 yard field goal to put the Olys up late in the third quarter, the first of six lead changes in the final quarter-plus.

Grand Junction quarterback Jax Nourse threw his fourth touchdown pass of the game (to go with 384 yards) on a 11-yard pass to Danny Antonucci for a 41-36 Tigers’ edge with 6:59 remaining before Gateway drove for Sanders’ late score.

Down two points, Grand Junction drove down the field in the closing seconds and following a defensive penalty got a chance to attempt a 27-yard field goal with no time left on the clock. It missed left to end the game.

Austin Taylor rushed for 229 yards and two touchdowns for the Tigers, who lost despite getting credit for 629 yards of total offense.

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

GATEWAY 43, GRAND JUNCTION 41

Score by quarter:

Gr. Junction  21  0  6  14 — 41

Gateway           7  13  9  14 — 43

SCORING

First quarter

Grand Junction — Danny Antonucci 9 yard pass from Jax Nourse (kick failed), 9:47

Grand Junction — Brody Cupp 63 yard pass from Nourse (Malik Jackson 2 point reception), 6:27

Gateway — Dylan Paulsen 2 yard pass from CJ Sanders (Jose Pizana kick), 2:17

Grand Junction — Jackson 26 yard pass from Nourse (Emily Steiner kick), 1:46

Second quarter

Gateway — Sanders 15 yard run (Pizana kick), 8:33

Gateway — Sanders 50 yard run (kick failed), 7:37

Third quarter

Gateway — Pizana 36 yard field goal, 4:45

Grand Junction — Austin Taylor 1 yard run (pass failed), 2:27

Gateway — Thomas Boles 1 yard run (kick failed), 0:13

Fourth quarter

Grand Junction — Taylor 59 yard run (Antonucci 2 point reception), 9:00

Gateway — Paulsen 95 yard kick return (Pizana kick), 8:46

Grand Junction — Antonucci 11 yard pass from Nourse (run failed), 6:59

Gateway — Sanders 1 yard run (Pizana kick), 3:47

RUSHING

Grand Junction: Austin Taylor 29-229, Jax Nourse 7-12, Malik Jackson 1-4

Gateway: CJ Sanders 39-235, Thomas Boles 16-68, Dequari Galloway 3-(minus 1)

PASSING

Grand Junction: Nourse 17-29, 384 yards, 4 touchdowns, 1 interception

Gateway: Sanders 17-36, 153 yards, 1 touchdown, 2 interceptions

RECEIVING

Grand Junction: Danny Antonucci 7-116, Brody Cupp 3-113, Jackson 5-96, Javan Zadrozny-Hier 1-53, Taylor 1-6

Gateway: Dylan Paulsen 11-73, Galloway 5-72, Dari Usman 1-8