Lions roar back in 4th quarter to topple Gateway
By Ken Jackson
Gateway’s defense held the vaunted Lake Nona offense to six points through 38 minutes of their 7A District 6 game Friday, but quarterback Lions’ Tucker Israel proved too much, tossing two fourth-quarter touchdown passes to lead the visitors to a 21-7 win on the Panthers’ Homecoming night.
Tailback Isaiah Wharton, who ran for 187 yards on 15 carries, gave the Panthers (2-4, 1-2 in 7A-6) a 7-6 lead it would take into halftime. But Isreal, who passed for 256 yards, helped piece together a 15-play, 81-yard drive that took just under five minutes in the fourth quarter to give the visitors a lead they’d never relinquish. After running for 9 yards on fourth-and-4 from the Gateway 34 to keep the drive alive, Israel hit Central Florida receiving leader Ryan Sousa on a 12-yard touchdown pass that gave the Lions the lead for good. Sousa caught five passes for 55 yards, some 140 yards less than his season average.
The Panthers, who are now all but eliminated from playoff contention, look to rebound next week against Liberty (2-4, 1-1), a 28-13 winner over Celebration (0-6, 0-2) on Friday.