Gateway football to join AAA ranks
In late November, newly compiled PIAA enrollment figures had the Gateway football program drop down to AAA for the next two-year cycle.
That presented a decision for Gateway officials with regards to accepting the move to AAA or voluntarily playing up at Quad-A.
Gateway has been in Quad-A since the class was established more than three decades ago.
The decision deadline was Tuesday, and athletic director Randy Rovesti said the Gators will be in AAA.
“You play where the numbers dictate,” Rovesti said. “It will be a more fair playing field. There is a large gap to the biggest schools in Quad-A. That's the reasons you have classifications.”
Rovesti didn't speculate on where the Gators would be placed or who they would face, but he did mention Franklin Regional and West Mifflin as two schools close to Gateway.
“There are a lot of good teams in AAA,” he said.
“We anticipate that no matter where we are placed, there will be good rivalries and good games. It is very competitive.”
Under the new PIAA classifications, Quad-A football includes schools with more than 492 boys enrolled in grades 9, 10 and 11.
Class AAA will be 300 to 492, Class AA will be 175 to 299, and Class A will be below 175.
Each cutoff dropped by about 15 boys from the current two-year alignment, when Quad-A was 506 and above.
Gateway finished 8-3 overall in its final season in Quad-A for at least the next two years.
The Gators were third in the Quad East at 6-2 behind conference champ McKeesport and runner-up Penn-Trafford.
Gateway was a senior-laden team, with several Division I recruits and prospects leading the way, and the Gators will have to rebuild at several different positions.
The school district also will search for a new football coach, as Donnie Militzer, who took over in May for Terry Smith, decided not to reapply for the job after one season after being told by school administrators that the position would be opened.
Rovesti said that the school board renews all coaching contracts on an annual basis.