Panthers fall to Lake Howell in Kickoff Classic
By Rick Pedone
Gateway’s Kickoff Classic was delayed a half hour because of rain, but Lake Howell quarterback Ricky Gonzales quickly made things happen when the game started when he sprinted 70 yards for a touchdown on the first play from scrimmage.
Another big play, a 68-yard touchdown pass from Gonzalez to Gio Cocoa in the fourth quarter, wrapped up a 17-7 Silver Hawks victory at the Ridenour Athletic Complex.
Gateway got on the scoreboard in the third quarter on linebacker Davian Green’s interception and 40-yard return for a touchdown, closing the gap to 10-7 after Andres Obando’s PAT.
Gateway drove to the Silver Hawks’ 8-yard line after Cocoa’s TD reception, but a fumble killed the drive.
The Panthers got one more chance when Hunter Weber recovered a fumble at the Lake Howell 30 with 2:56 to play, but the Panthers’ drive ended at the 2-yard line as time expired.
“We played hard, and if we play like this again we’re going to have success,” Panthers Coach Marlin Roberts told his team after the game. “The coaches didn’t do a good enough job in this game. We’re going to do better next week.”
The Panthers were victimized by an officials’ error early in the fourth quarter when they trailed 10-7. The officials lost track of the downs and awarded Lake Howell possession at its 10-yard line after the Panthers ran only three plays after getting a first down at the Lake Howell 12.
Roberts pleaded his case, but the officials stood firm. Three plays later, Lake Howell scored on the long touchdown pass play.
”I’ve seen that before, unfortunately,” Roberts said.
Although the Panthers offense did not score, it moved the ball consistently in the second half. Quarterback Henry Miller carried 19 times for 95 yards and was 9-of-14 for 99 yards passing.
The Silver Hawks barely out-gained the Panthers, 255-248.
Gateway’s defense came up with three turnovers, but the difference was Lake Howell’s two long scoring plays.
“We bent a lot, but we didn’t break,” Roberts said.
Lake Howell’s Jason Gangwisch kicked a 25-yard field goal in the second quarter for a 10-0 Lake Howell lead. The Panthers drove from their 30 to the Lake Howell 23 on the next series, but Miller was sacked for a 4-yard loss on fourth-and-3.
Gateway’s Richmond Xavian recovered a fumble in the first half. Lineman Michael Knight had a pair of sacks for the Panthers.
There was no live kicking in the game.
Gateway opens the regular season by hosting Poinciana Friday at 7:30 p.m.