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CoGo's Feature Matchup: Gateway at Mars

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With both teams coming in riding two game winning streaks, Gateway (2-3) travels to Mars (3-2) in a late-season conference game that could have playoff implications.

Mars has outscored their opponents by a mark of 183-62 this year, but they have dropped a pair of one-score games to Indiana and Franklin Regional. While the team was close to entering this week at 5-0 instead of 3-2, head coach Scott Heinauer feels that his team learned something in the process.

“Obviously when you lose, it teaches you lessons,” Heinauer said. “You can’t make mistakes.”

Mars’ offense has been led by their backfield this year. Senior running back Ori Rinaman has racked up over 600 yards on 100 carries, to go along with 10 touchdowns.

Sophmore Isaiah Johnson has not had as many touches as his senior counterpart, but he is averaging just under 13 yards per carry and has racked up 6 touchdowns on just 23 carries and two receptions.

The duo has stepped up in the absence of senior running back Josh Schultheis, one of the top backs in the WPIAL. Schultheis broke his leg in the season-opener and is lost for the season.

Heinauer says that he’s proud of his team’s tandem and says it’s something that many of his squads in the past have not had.

“It allows you to attack different people and different areas,” Heinauer said. “Some things are open for some people and sometimes they’re not.”

Senior quarterback Jake Rosswog is also a key contributor for this team’s attack, as he is averaging over 6.6 yards a carry and has thrown for seven touchdowns and just two interceptions. Rosswog’s favorite target is junior tight end John Castello, who is tied for the team lead in receptions and stands alone at the top for receiving yards and receiving touchdowns.

Gateway, in their first season in Triple-A under new coach Tom Nola, opened their season at a lackluster 0-3, but they have won a couple of nail biters the last two weeks to improve to 2-3.

Their 8-7 win against Knoch was highlighted by a 4th quarter 34-yard scoring strike from quarterback Roy McNair to Aidan Howard. The deep game helped McNair and Gateway pull an upset against Hollidaysburg last week, as they racked up 131 yards through the air on just six completions.

Although McNair has completed just 43 percent of his passes, the Mars secondary will be challenged to prevent big plays in the passing game.

Still, after a pair of tough, close loses for his team—and knowing the propensity of this week’s opponent to squeak out those types of wins—Heinauer knows that luck can sometimes play a part in the final result.

“Sometimes you get a lucky bounce, and that’s just how the ball bounces,” Heinauer said.Mars Athletic Complex

The game starts at 7:00 at the Mars Athletic Complex.

Aug. 29 Quaker Valley 25 - Keystone Oaks 19
Sept. 5 Knoch 19 - Greensburg Salem 14
Sept. 12 Chartiers-Houston 21 - Western Beaver 14
Sept. 19 Franklin Regional 34 - Indiana 20
Sept. 26 Washington 34 - Mount Pleasant 15
Oct. 3 Gateway at Mars
Oct. 10 Carlynton at South Park
Oct. 17 Plum at Penn Trafford
Oct. 24 Bethel Park at Baldwin

Tonight’s game is the Pittsburgh Sports Report and CoGo's Feature Matchup. Students and fans, be sure to take plenty of pictures and Tweet them to @PghSportsReport #Planets. The best photos will appear online after the game!

Click here for full season coverage of the CoGo's Feature Matchup.

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