Gateway trio teammates for one final high school game
In August, Gateway seniors Delvon Randall, Zaihe Regus and Joe Robak will report at freshman to college football programs at Temple, Mercyhurst and Edinboro, respectively.
But the Gators trio was able to share a high school field one more time at Sunday's PSFCA East-West All-Star Game at Franklin Regional High School.
“It was fun,” said Randall, who caught nine passes for 110 yards and a fourth-quarter touchdown.
“It was just a blessing to be able to play in this all-star game and compete against some great players.”
The West team, which featured close to two dozen WPIAL and City League players, including players from Franklin Regional, McKeesport and Penn Hills, fell to the East, 35-25.
Randall said he cherished the chance to suit up once more with Regus and Robak before they go their separate ways in a few months.
“They are my brothers,” he said.
It's been several months since the 2013 high school football season ended, and the players had to make a quick transition back to the field in full football gear.
“It was actually a new feeling, because we never have been in full pads at this time of the year,” said Regus, who saw the field at linebacker for all but one series.�
“Usually now, I would be doing weight lifting or conditioning.”
Robak, who played almost the entire game at center, said he increased his workout regiment, and that included more running.
He said the couple of two-a-day workouts helped get the players acclimated to the pads again.
“Playing only on one side of the ball helped,” Robak said.
Robak, who returned to the throwing arena Tuesday at a WPIAL Class AAA track and field qualifier at Norwin High School, was hobbled somewhat by a minor knee and quad injury suffered early in the second quarter.
“It got kicked or I landed on it weird. I'm not sure,” Robak said.
The injury wasn't severe enough to keep him out of the game. After missing a couple of series, he was back in the game and played the entire second half.
The teams combined for seven turnovers, and the West had four of them.
The East led 28-6 in the third quarter before the West attempted a comeback.
“It's hard to imagine what the result could've been without the turnovers,” Robak said.
“It was hard to get in a rhythm some times, but we made some great plays.”
The game was a chance for the players to get a taste of what college football will be like.
“We came together with guys we weren't too familiar with,” Regus said.
“We didn't pull out the win, but we played well as a team to the last down.”
Robak snapped the ball to three quarterbacks, including Franklin Regional senior Charan Singh, who played his final game on his home field with Panthers teammate Colin Jonov.
Jonov, who picked off a pass in the first half and made other plays on defense and special teams, was named the West MVP.
“Everyone bonded so well,” Robak said.
“It's amazing that over two weeks you can develop such good chemistry. It feels like we played together for a full season.”
Michael Love is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5825, at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @ Mlove_Trib.