PAULSBORO – It’s not every day that the Gateway High School football team has a lot of success against Paulsboro.
In fact, it’s not even every decade.
The last time the Gators managed a victory over the Red Raiders was in 1985. They almost repeated that on Saturday.
Instead, however, Paulsboro rallied behind the rushing and receiving prowess of senior back Dehran Holloway to escape with a 21-14 victory in a West Jersey League Colonial Division game.
Holloway rushed for 261 yards on 35 carries, and he scored the winning touchdown with five seconds left when he accepted a four-yard pass from Colin McCarthy.
The score, along with Holloway's 2-point conversion run, capped a 88-yard drive and helped the Red Raiders overcome a 14-13 deficit.
“We could have played better, but we secured the win,” said Holloway, who also scored on a 53-yard run in the second quarter. “We held together until there was zero, zero left on the clock.”
The win pushed Paulsboro to 3-0 for the season, while it was the first loss for Gateway, now 2-1.
“I take my hat off to Gateway,” Holloway said. “They pushed us to our limits.”
But in the end, it was Paulsboro – the defending South Jersey Group 1 champion and the perennial small-school power that found a way to win.
Along with the decision, veteran Coach Glenn Howard also hopes his team learned a lesson.
“You have to come to play every day,” he said. “Gateway was prepared to play. They were coached well, and they had a great game plan. Their kids played their butts off.
“They did what they had to do to win the ball game. It came down to we made one more play than they did at the end. Those guys can compete with anybody. ”
Gateway coach Jason Mason agreed. He said his team put out an extreme effort trying to win the game.
“We played a great football team,” Mason said. “Our kids played so tough. That’s the best we’ve played Paulsboro for this school in 30 years. You always hear about a moral victory, but this year we feel like we can play with anybody on our schedule.”
When it was all said and done, the Gators had no one who could either contain Holloway or match his production on the field.
“He did an outstanding job,” Howard said. “He’s a workhorse. You just keep feeding him the ball and he responds. He makes big plays.”
Mason said his team knew was it was up against in facing Holloway.
“He’s a difference maker,” he said. “On film he’s scary. Those are the type of players you hope to contain and hope they don’t make a lot of plays before the game is over.”
Holloway did his share during the winning touchdown drive when he ran three times for 19 yards and caught two passes for 18 yards, including the winning touchdown reception.
It took 10 plays to cover the 88 yards as the Red Raiders finally found their offensive rhythm just when it mattered most.
“As our offense was walking on, I saw there was two minutes left and I thought `what can I do to make this happen,’ Holloway said. “Coach Howard trusted me, and he put the game in my hands and I was able to get the touchdown.”
Before that touchdown all the scoring came in the second quarter.
Gateway broke on top when Matt Goetz threw the first of his two touchdown passes, a 47-yarder to LaQwam Sims.
The conversion attempt failed, allowing Paulsboro to take a 7-6 lead on Holloway’s 53-yard run.
A 44-yard touchdown pass from Goetz to Logan Cruet, plus a conversion run by Evan Wilkinson put Gateway up 14-7.
Then Tyehere Downs scored on a 20-yard run for Paulsboro, which remained behind on the scoreboard when the extra point kick was blocked.
Gateway had a chance to extend the lead in the second quarter when Pay Hayden recovered a muffed punt at the Paulsboro 1-yard line.
But two running attempts failed to produce a score and Paulsboro ended the threat when Will Smith intercepted a pass.
West Jersey Football League
Gateway 0 14 0 0 -14
G: LaQwan Sims 47 pass from Matt Geotz (PF)
P: Dehron Hollway 53 run (Ricky Wolf kick)
G: Logan Cruet 44 pass from Geotz (Evan Winkinson run)
P: Tyehere Davis 20 run (KF)
P: Hollway 4 pass from Colin McCarthy (Holloway run)