There are games and then there are games that become legend. On Friday, at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. Pa., we witnessed a game that people will be talking about for years to come as Pittsburgh Central Catholic outlasted Gateway in overtime 35-34 as the Vikings captured the WPIAL Class AAAA championship and a spot in the state playoffs.
Down by a 21-7 score with less than eight minutes remaining in regulation Gateway went on an improbable run and almost shocked the top ranked Class AAAA team in the state. The Vikings held off the Gators and ended up winning by a score of 35-34 in overtime. Here is a quick rundown of the events and two videos. One video features first half highlights and the second video features the second half and overtime. This may be the most exciting end to a high school game that you may ever see.
Down 21-7 with less than eight minutes remaining in the fourth quarter Gateway’s Cameron Saddler makes a beautiful cut up the middle and scores from 15-yards out. The point after is missed. With the score 21-13 Gateway tries and onside kick which is recovered by junior wide receiver Brian Williams and the Gators are in business in Viking territory.
The staunch Vikings defense holds their ground and at the 4:42 mark Gateway comes up short on a 4th and 12. Central Catholic fails to run out the clock and with 3:46 remaining they face a 4th and 2 and punt the ball back to the Gators. Gator quarterback Robby Kalkstein completes passes to Williams and Jonathan Pryor as the Gators drive to the Vikings 15-yard line.
Kalkstein drops back and throws a pass toward the Vikings sideline and Central Catholic senior cornerback Emmanuele Matthews made a great play and broke in front of the intended receiver and picks the pass off. Matthews ran the ball back 85 yards for a score and junior kicker Matt Oczypok nailed the PAT to give the Vikings a 28-20 lead with 1:02 remaining.
With :45 seconds left Kalkstein found Scout.com Top 100 junior Corey Brown in the end zone and Brown made an outstanding catch for a score. Junior kicker Ryan Lichtenstein converted the PAT to bring the Gators within 28-20. The Gators once again had to pull off another onside kick. As the ball bounced around through several peoples hands kicker Lichtenstein fell on the ball to give his team one more shot with: 29 seconds left. The Gators were driving but the Vikings kept them out of the end zone as the Gators faced the end of their season with: 09 seconds remaining. Kalkstein threw a last ditch pass down field that was caught by Pryor and as he was being pulled to the ground he calmly pitched the ball to a sprinting Saddler who ran ten more yards untouched into the end zone.
Now, with Gateway down 28-26 they needed to go for the two-point conversion to tie the score and force overtime. Kalkstein ran the play action to perfection and found a wide open senior tight end Steve Horvath as the Gators tied the game at 28-28. The Gators got the ball first in the overtime period and scored as Leon Green came in at quarterback and scored on a keeper from the one-yard line. Lichtenstein came on for the point after try and the ball started to fall off the tee as he kicked it and missed. The Vikings found themselves trailing for the first time in the game since the second quarter 34-28. The Vikings like the Gators found themselves on the one-yard line as Tino Sunseri broke the plain of the goal line on the quarterback keeper and tied the score at 34-34. The pressure now fell squarely on the shoulders of Oczypok who calmly nailed the PAT through the uprights and gave the Vikings a win and a WPIAL Class AAAA Championship with a 35-34 victory.
Here are first half highlights.
Central Catholic vs. Gateway 1st Half Highlights
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Here are the second half and overtime highlights to this amazing contest.
The Game: 2nd Half Highlights Central Catholic vs. Gateway
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