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2004 Pre-season Scrimmage Wrap-up

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Gators Defeat Bethel Park - Final Score 1 to 0

Friday, August 20, 2004 - Bethel Park, PA:

Mike Barlak - Running BackMike Barlak on his 58 yard TD run
#33 Mike Barlak as a fill-in TB, hurdles the line. (right) Barlak on a 58-yard TD Run.

As the Gators arrived at Bethel Park stadium in the South Hills of Pittsburgh, an ominous rumbling was heard in the distance. Within a few minutes, Bethel Park Stadium was entrenched in a torrential downpour and lightning storm. After a 1 hour delay, Mother Nature turned down the faucet and the rain tapered to a drizzle, enough for the scrimmage to get underway.

The Gators were without several starters, including Justin King, Justin Colbaugh, and Matt Houy. RB Joe Martin received a brusied knee on the first series and Gateway was forced to go with starting LB LB Mike Barlak (6-2, 215) as tailback. Barlak, who last played TB in his JV days, energized the Gateway bench by taking over at tailback and gained around 100 yards on the evening boosted by a 58 yard off-tackle TD run. Another factor in the low score was that the natural grass surface at Bethel Park stadium was drenched, and the players had trouble running crisp routes and making quick cuts. By the end of the game, quite a bit of the field had been ripped up and chunked, as the grass became loose under the heavy rains.

Defensively, the Gators performed admirably despite several key starters out of the lineup, and held Bethel Park scoreless. LB Mike Barlak had several pounding tackles, Charles King had a 60+ yard INT return for a TD called back on a phantom pass-interference play, and then moments later intercepted another Bethel Park pass to end a drive on the Gateway 15 yardline. Other players of note were Roberto Blanding, who turned in another impressive performance on the D-Line, and LB's Amir Panahlazor and Louis Cuccaro brought their "A" game.

To see all 122 pictures of the scrimmage, click here

Gators Blow Out Tornadoes - Final Score 7 to 1

Saturday, August 14, 2004 - Gateway Stadium:

Justin King in mid-air on the first play for the Gator Offense - goes 80 yards for a TDJustin Colbaugh (LB) tackles a Butler player in the open field.
In a day that started out with heavy fog and drizzle making it necessary to have the stadium lights on at 9am, Gateway dominated the Butler Tornadoes 7 to 1. Butler's lone score was against the Gateway JV reserves on the last possession of the day for Butler. The final score could have easily been 8 to 1 as Gateway electively switched to defense at the Butler 1 yard line during one of the 10 play sessions.

On the first Gator offensive play, RB Justin King dashed 80 yards for a TD (see photo of King in mid-air just past the line on this run). Overall, King ran for more than 200 yards on about 12 carries including 2 - 80 yard TD runs and was taken out of the lineup early in the scrimmage. The Gateway "O" was dominating and Butler struggled to move the ball on the Gator varsity Defense. The Butler O could not get things in gear and had at least 6 fumbled snaps from center, while struggling both with the passing and running game.

Among other Gator standouts were LB/RB (2nd RB) Justin Colbaugh who had over 100 yards rushing and several key tackles on defense, and 2nd QB Charles King (JR) who also had more than 100 yards rushing, RB Joe Martin (SOPH) with a 60+ yard TD run, and SE Jon Ditto (SOPH) with several leaping pass catches. C/NT Roberto Blanding, who had the toughest test of his career against 6-3 410lb. Butler lineman Nate Hartung, more than held his own and displayed good quickness off the snap, to lead the Gator defensive front in applying strong pressure against the Butler line. Among the players who missed todays scrimmage with minor injuries were starters LB Ryan Kwiatkowski and OG/DE Matt Houy, both of whom will be back in action this week.

To see all 177 pictures of the scrimmage, click here