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Seven Gateway seniors make decisions final

Michael Love | The Times Express
Seven Gateway senior student-athletes signed on the dotted line during a National Letter of Intent Signing Day ceremony on February 6, 2013, at Gateway High School. In front, from left, are Carly Seneca (Pitt, soccer), Jaymar Parrish (Pitt, football) and Mileak Ford (Slippery Rock, football). In back are R.J. Hughes (Edinboro, football), Anthony Parente (Youngstown State, football), Todd Jeter (Temple, football) and Thomas Woodson (Akron, football).

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Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

A six-pack of successful football seniors and a soccer player who made her mark at all levels during her four-year varsity career highlighted National Letter of Intent Signing Day on Feb. 6 at Gateway High School.

The seven Gators student-athletes were celebrated in a ceremony as they put pen to paper and began the next step in their athletic and academic journeys.

Thomas Woodson (Akron), Todd Jeter (Temple), Jaymar Parrish (Pitt), Anthony Parente (Youngstown State), Mileak Ford (Slippery Rock) and R.J. Hughes (Edinboro) were together again after all six played on the victorious North team in the annual Chesapeake Bowl all-star game in Maryland on Dec. 29.

Carly Seneca finalized her dream of playing Division I college soccer as she signed with Pitt.

Woodson originally gave a verbal commitment to Arizona, but the Wildcats pulled their offer, and that left him searching for a new home.

He found that with Akron, and, he said, he couldn't be happier.

“Things happen for a reason,” Woodson said. “I am over it and looking forward to my future. The coaching staff at Akron is really excited for me to be there, and I'm excited to go there and compete for playing time my first year.”

Jeter and Temple came together at the last minute.

Terry Smith, former Gateway head coach and the new wide receivers coach at Temple, showed a highlight video of Jeter to other Owls coaches.

Jeter made an impression, and an offer came one day before signing day.

“I like being around coach Smith,” Jeter said. “It's a big reason I am going there. I got the offer and committed on the spot.”

Jeter is set to play in the annual Big 33 all-star game in June.

Parrish gave a verbal commitment to Pitt nine months ago.

“I've been waiting since last summer since I gave my verbal commitment. It's a good feeling to finally be able to sign,” he said.

Toledo saw Parrish at a 7-on-7 camp after he gave the verbal to Pitt, and the Rockets offered Parrish a scholarship.

Akron offered as well, but, Parrish said, he didn't waiver in his commitment to the Panthers.

Gateway won the Quad East championship in 2012 with an undefeated 8-0 mark. The Gators finished the season 9-2 overall and lost a close WPIAL quarterfinal matchup to Woodland Hills, 17-14.

Hughes and Parente were big parts of the offensive and defensive lines for the Gators, and Ford made his mark on both sides of the ball and will be an H-back in college.

Parrish, Woodson, Parente, Ford and Hughes earned Quad East Conference first-team honors for the 2012 season, while Jeter was a second-team selection.

Woodson went on to earn Quad-A all-state recognition at quarterback from the Pennsylvania Sports Writers organization.

Woodson, Parrish and Ford have been selected to play in the PSFCA East-West Game on May 4.

Seneca, a four-year starter for the Gateway varsity girls soccer team, scored 70 career goals and added 48 assists.

She was a two-year captain and helped lead the Gators to the playoffs four times.

Gateway won the section title twice during her varsity career, including 2012, and the Gators advanced to the WPIAL semifinals for the first time in the program's 27-year history.

“I am so excited and honored to be a part of this,” she said.

“It's great to know my soccer career isn't over. I can't wait to get started at Pitt. I love to have all of the support from my family, friends and teammates. It's the best part about this day.”

Michael Love is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5825 or at

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