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Gateway has weapons to contend for WPIAL title

| Thursday, Aug. 23, 2012, 8:30 p.m.
Christopher Horner
Gateway running back Darin Franklin. Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Christopher Horner
Gateway tight end Jaymar Parrish. Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review

Gateway coach Terry Smith's future is uncertain beyond the 2012 season.

The district's school board reduced his athletic director position to part time and eliminated Smith's coaching privileges if he remains a school administrator.

What Smith is certain of, however, is this year's Gateway team — possibly his last — has the talent to make a run for a WPIAL title.

“We've worked hard,” Smith said. “We worked out four days a week this summer and had close to 90 percent attendance each time. They're dedicated and committed and are doing everything we've asked them to do. The goals are there for them.”

Gateway finished 9-3 last year, losing in the WPIAL semifinals. The Gators also will attempt to get the conference title back after finishing second to McKeesport two years ago and runner-up to Penn-Trafford last season.

The offense is experienced, as nine starters return. Six of them will be three-year starters, and six earned all-conference honors in 2011.

Senior quarterback Thomas Woodson, an Arizona recruit, is back to lead the offense, and will have Pitt recruit Jaymar Parrish, a tight end, as a top target.

Other starters back include seniors Darin Franklin (running back), Mileak Ford (tight end), Andre Martin (running back), Anthony Parente (tackle) and R.J. Hughes (tackle) and juniors Joe Robak (center) and Delvon Randall (wide receiver).

The Gators' defense returns six starters, including three along the line in Hughes, Parente and senior Brandon Madjerich.

Parrish will anchor the linebacking corps, and Randall and junior Anthony Davis return as starters to pace what Smith feels is an experienced group in the secondary, which also features junior Montae Nicholson and senior Todd Jeter at safety and senior Tale Brisker at cornerback.

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