In a game that decided the king of the conference, McKeesport used Queen to claim the throne.
David Queen did a masterful job of running McKeesport's flexbone offense, rushing for 228 yards and accounting for four touchdowns in leading the Tigers to the Class AAAA Foothills Conference title Thursday with a 49-12 win at Gateway.
McKeesport (9-0, 8-0) continued to excel in George Smith's return as coach. It's the first time the Tigers have gone undefeated in the regular season since Smith's 1994 team that won WPIAL and PIAA titles.
In a game many expected to be close, Gateway (7-2, 6-2) allowed its most points since 1997.
McKeesport relied on a multidimensional rushing attack that amassed 395 yards and had the Gators guessing which player would get the ball.
"It's just great having coach Smith back," Queen said. "He's been running this offense for years, and if we execute it right, we're going to do well."
Against McKeesport, you have to pick your poison on which ballcarrier to key on. On this night, Queen was deadly. Of his 23 carries, seven went for at least 12 yards. He rushed for three touchdowns and passed for his second of the season.
"We came in thinking the dive was going to kill us, and the quarterback just made every right decision. That's what killed us," said Gateway coach Donnie Militzer.
Gateway trailed, 21-12, after Jimmy Moore tossed his second touchdown pass with 6:14 left in the second quarter, but that's the last the Gators offense would be heard from. McKeesport outscored the Gators, 28-0, from that point on.
Moore completed 13 of 27 passes for 200 yards. He connected on his first nine passes but was just 4 of 18 after that. Delvon Randall had seven catches for 116 yards and a touchdown. Anthony Davis also had a touchdown reception. Standout receiver/defensive back Montae Nicholson was held to one catch.
Gateway hurt its cause in the final minutes of the first half when it could not capitalize on two McKeesport turnovers. A McKeesport fumble gave Gateway the ball at the 50, but a sack and penalty caused the drive to fizzle. Then with McKeesport driving in the final minute, Nicholson intercepted a Queen pass at the goal line, but after taking a few steps, he fumbled it back to McKeesport. On the next play, Allen Wright scored on a 7-yard run to put the Tigers ahead, 28-12, with 27 seconds left
McKeesport had scored six points in losing consecutive games to Gateway the past two seasons, but the Tigers topped that total less than three minutes into the game when Queen connected with Carlos Hudson for a 19-yard touchdown. Queen made it 14-0 with a 1-yard scoring run and added second-half touchdown runs of 7 and 39 yards, the last of which invoked the mercy rule with 6:08 left.
Said Smith: "We played good option football."