TribLIVE

| Sports

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

N.A., Gateway shaping up for Quad-A shootout

Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review - North Allegheny's Greg Garrity makes a catch as Mt. Lebanon's Josh Alberts (23) and Tim Briercheck (49) defense on Friday August 31, 2012. The Tigers win the game, 39-14.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em> Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review</em></div>North Allegheny's Greg Garrity makes a catch as Mt. Lebanon's Josh Alberts (23) and Tim Briercheck (49) defense on Friday August 31, 2012. The Tigers win the game, 39-14.
Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review - North Allegheny QB Mack Leftwich scores on a keeper against Mt. Lebanon on Friday August 31, 2012. The Tigers went on to win the game, 39-14.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em> Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review</em></div>North Allegheny QB Mack Leftwich scores on a keeper against Mt. Lebanon on Friday August 31, 2012. The Tigers went on to win the game, 39-14.
Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review - North Allegheny's Elijah Zeise catches a long pass over Mt. Lebanon's Matt McGraw on Friday August 31, 2012.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em> Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review</em></div>North Allegheny's Elijah Zeise catches a long pass over Mt. Lebanon's Matt McGraw on Friday August 31, 2012.
Evan R. Sanders | Tribune-Review - Gateway's Thomas Woodson looks for an open receiver in the first half of Gateway's match up against Connellsville on Sept. 7, 2012. Woodson rushed for 121 yards and two touchdowns and threw for a score in last Friday's victory over Kiski Area.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em> Evan R. Sanders | Tribune-Review</em></div>Gateway's Thomas Woodson looks for an open receiver in the first half of Gateway's match up against Connellsville on Sept. 7, 2012. Woodson rushed for 121 yards and two touchdowns and threw for a score in last Friday's victory over Kiski Area.
Jason Bridge | Valley News Dispatch - Kiski Area's Pat Turner (3) is stopped by Gateway's Mileak Ford (10), Anthony Parente (50), and Zaihe Regus (44) during their game at Davis Field in Vandergrift on Friday, September 14, 2012.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em> Jason Bridge  |  Valley News Dispatch</em></div>Kiski Area's Pat Turner (3) is stopped by Gateway's Mileak Ford (10), Anthony Parente (50), and Zaihe Regus (44) during their game at Davis Field in Vandergrift on Friday, September 14, 2012.
Evan R. Sanders | Daily Courier - Gateway's Andrea Martin (8) carries Connellsville's James Stevenson (3) and Dylan Knopsnider (21) into the end zone in the first half Friday, Sept. 7, 2012.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em> Evan R. Sanders | Daily Courier</em></div>Gateway's Andrea Martin (8) carries Connellsville's James Stevenson (3) and Dylan Knopsnider (21) into the end zone in the first half Friday, Sept. 7, 2012.

TribLIVE Sports Videos

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.
Top high school sports

Kevin Gorman podcasts

  • Loading...

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012, 11:06 p.m.
 

North Allegheny and Gateway are the top-ranked and highest-scoring teams in WPIAL Class AAAA, and they feature two of the most prolific passers and game-breaking receivers.

If that doesn't promise to make their midseason matchup a shootout, Gateway coach Terry Smith will.

“We might look like West Virginia and Baylor this Friday night,” Smith said, referring to the Mountaineers' 70-63 Big 12 win Saturday. “Both offenses have the capability of putting up a lot of points and yards and moving the ball.”

History indicates otherwise. Their last meeting, in the WPIAL semifinals last fall, ended with North Allegheny pulling off a last-minute, 21-17 victory.

Which is why Tigers coach Art Walker expects the nonconference game to be a defensive struggle.

“I don't think it would come down to anything like a shootout like that,” Walker said. “Both defenses are very good, and both teams have too much talent on the field.”

This game involves two of the three remaining undefeated teams in Quad-A (Upper St. Clair is the other) and the preseason favorites to reach the WPIAL final at Heinz Field.

North Allegheny has decisive victories over Mt. Lebanon and Seneca Valley — both 4-1 — but Gateway has only played one opponent, Hempfield (3-2), with a winning record. The Gators are looking forward to their first challenge of the season.

“It's a great midseason test to see where you are, where you're deficient and proficient, so you can adjust coming down the stretch for the playoffs,” Smith said. “We're excited to play a meaningful game where we truly have to prepare and focus on 100 percent. It's a double-edged sword because it's only an exhibition game.”

The Gators are averaging 49 points per game and 24.7 yards per completion behind Arizona recruit Thomas Woodson, a dual-threat quarterback who has deep threats in junior wideouts Montae Nicholson, Delvon Randall and Ricky Rogers and tight ends Mileak Ford and Jaymar Parrish.

The two-time defending WPIAL champion Tigers, who have won 21 consecutive games against league foes, are scoring 43.2 points per game.

Stephen F. Austin recruit Mack Leftwich is completing 65 percent of his passes for 1,180 yards and has a talented trio of receivers in seniors Brendan Coniker and Gregg Garrity and junior Elijah Zeise.

“You're looking at arguably two of the best quarterbacks in the state going head to head,” Smith said. “Both are veterans, take on leadership, create identity on offense and make decisions at the line of scrimmage. The quarterback that makes the right play call, makes good decisions and protects the football, more than likely is going to be the one whose team will win Friday night.”

North Allegheny has the state's top offensive lineman in senior left tackle Patrick Kugler and a tough running back in Alex DiCiantis.

Gateway also has a talented tailback in Andre Martin and a secondary featuring four Division I prospects in cornerbacks Anthony Davis and Todd Jeter and safeties Nicholson and Randall.

“They're fast all over the field,” Leftwich said. “Their secondary is impressive. They're good, and they know it. We're going to have to play our best game so far this season if we want to win.”

Kevin Gorman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at kgorman@tribweb.com.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Stories

  1. McCullers’, McLendon’s prowess in clogging trenches crucial to Steelers defense
  2. Rossi: Looking at the next great Steeler
  3. Steelers swap draft pick for Eagles cornerback
  4. Shell shovels millions into proposed Beaver County plant site
  5. Penguins not alone in top-heavy approach to salary cap
  6. After early criticism, Haley has Steelers offense poised to be even better
  7. Reds solve Cole, stave off Pirates’ 9th-inning rally
  8. Starting 9: Examining Pirates’ deadline decisions
  9. Pirates notebook: New acquisition Happ more than happy to fill spot in rotation
  10. Inside the Steelers: QB Jones continues to get majority of snaps
  11. Biertempfel: Players, MLB agree logic of season’s setup needs to be examined