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New coach doesn't alter high expectations at Gateway

| Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013, 8:55 p.m.
Michael Love | Tribune-Review
Gateway's Brenon Thrift works out during practice Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2013, at Gateway.
Michael Love | Tribune-Review
Montae Nicholson works out during practice Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2013, at Gateway.
Michael Love | Tribune-Review
Ricky Rogers works out during practice Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2013, at Gateway.
Michael Love | Tribune-Review
Anthony Davis works out during practice Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2013, at Gateway.
Michael Love | Tribune-Review
Delvon Randall works out during practice Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2013, at Gateway.

Donnie Militzer knows the pressure is on as he takes over as coach of Gateway this season.

Terry Smith, the Gators' coach from 2002-12, won 101 games and took the program to four WPIAL championship games.

Smith resigned in February and now is the wide receivers coach at Temple University.

Militzer, who has coaching experience as an assistant at the high school and college levels, wants to keep Gateway's football tradition going strong in his first season.

“From the very first day, the guys had the same expectations,” Militzer said. “They didn't change. Not much needs to be said. Our goal is to get to Heinz, and we want to win at Heinz and continue on from there.”

When Militzer arrived, a strong corps of returning talent from last year's Quad East champion and WPIAL quarterfinalist greeted him.

The talent includes Temple recruits Delvon Randall, Anthony Davis and Brenon Thrift; West Virginia recruit Ricky Rogers; and highly prized Division I prospect Montae Nicholson.

Nicholson, who has dozens of Division I offers, is expected again to form a formidable wide receiving group with Randall, Davis and Rogers. Nicholson, Randall and Davis will be three-fourths of a secondary not many opponents will look forward to facing.

“I don't know if any school in the country can say they can get four Division I athletes on the field in a four-receiver set,” Militzer said.

Senior Jimmy Moore is a leading candidate to replace the graduated Thomas Woodson at quarterback.

Woodson, who threw for nearly 2,400 yards and 23 scores last season, is playing at Akron.

Senior Zaihe Regus is expected to be a big part of a new-look set of running backs.

More than 1,100 yards of rushing offense and 22 touchdowns from the running leaders are gone from last year's team.

Regus also will serve as an anchor at linebacker.

In the trenches on both sides of the ball, senior linemen Stephen Gross and Joe Robak are experienced starters.

“We've had a really productive summer,” Militzer said. “We learned a lot and improved a lot. The kids have realized that to get to Heinz, they can't take any days off. When you are Gateway, you are getting everyone's best game.”

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