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2004 Gateway vs. Fox Chapel Foxes - Pre-Game Warmup

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Showcase Matchup AAA vs. AAAA
Gateway Gators vs. Thomas Jefferson Jaguars

Monday, October 4, 2004 - from the offices of
The premier game in the WPIAL will take place this Friday in Jefferson Hills (near Century 3 Mall...), as one of the top AAA teams, Thomas Jefferson (5-1), take on our Gateway Gators (5-1), ranked #2 in AAAA. It will be a battle of the classes for 2004 - out of all cross-over AAA/AAAA games - this is the game that features the two highest-ranked teams.

It is the first meeting in school history between these two teams. It's also a Pitt vs. Penn State matchup as both coaches are former college players; Bill Cherpak (TJ) is a former Pitt Panther lineman (1986-1989), and Terry Smith (GG) played wide receiver at Penn State from 1989-1992.

Of note for this game:

  • Justin King has 3,744 career rushing yards, and is 256 yards short of 4,000, which would make him the 4th player in WPIAL AAAA history to hit that mark
  • Gateway is the highest scoring WPIAL team, averaging 47.7 PPG, while the Gator defense has allowed the fewest points of any AAAA team
  • Gateway has envoked the "Mercy Rule" in five consecutive games (had a >35 point lead)
  • Thomas Jefferson is the 2nd highest scoring team in AAA, and has scored 210 points in 6 games, 35ppg, while allowing only 39 points, tops in AAA
  • The Gateway / TJ game will be broadcast state-wide on the PCN cable channel (
  • A huge crowd is expected at TJ for their annual homecoming game
  • TJ is ranked #3 in WPIAL AAA and #8 in PIAA - AAA
  • Gateway is ranked #2 in WPIAL AAAA and #3 in PIAA - AAAA
  • Quotables:
    • "My team is looking forward to playing against Justin King," TJ Coach Cherpak says, "I don't know if it is possible to stop him but what we have to do is not allow other players to make big plays in addition to his big plays."
    • "We are desperately looking for a challenge. TJ is a top class AAA team who can compete with anybody." - Gateway Coach Smith
    • "Our kids don't know much about them," Cherpak said. "But they do know about Justin King. They're excited to be playing Gateway."
    • "Tonight was definitely a statement game," said TJ Linebacker Kolodziej, referring to the 10/1/2004 TJ 38-0 victory over Elizabeth-Forward. "We showed we're ready for Gateway."
    • We're really excited," said Thomas Jefferson coach Bill Cherpak. "Few teams get to play in big games like this. It will be awesome. The kids are really looking forward to it."