2022 Trib HSSN Preseason Football All-Star Team: Central Catholic’s Peter Gonzalez

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Thursday, June 30, 2022 | 3:53 PM


Editor’s note: The Tribune-Review and the TribLive High School Sports Network are profiling each member of the 25-player Trib HSSN Preseason Football All-Star team. The players will be recognized July 15 during HSSN Media Day at Kennywood Park.

Central Catholic football players have grown accustomed to vying for WPIAL titles.

They also have gotten used to winning them.

After claiming back-to-back district crowns in 2019-20, the Vikings lost to Mt. Lebanon, 47-7, last fall in the finals, making for a long, disappointing offseason. That loss also provided motivation for the returning Vikings, including junior wide receiver Peter Gonzalez.

“I think we can be right back where we were last year,” said Gonzalez, who transferred from Mars after his freshman season and made an immediate impact at Central Catholic last fall. “A victory this year is definitely in the picture and a deep state run. We were young last year, and we lost a few seniors, but I think we’ll come back just as strong this year.”

The Vikings have played for a WPIAL championship eight times since 2013, winning five titles in that span. Those are lofty goals to live up to each season, but something Central Catholic’s players consider an expectation.

Gonzalez will play a key role in that effort. The 6-foot-2, 200-pound wideout had 18 catches for 322 yards and four scores last season, taking advantage of mismatches all over the field.

“I have good body control on the ground and in the air, which I feel makes it easier for my quarterback, knowing I can go and get it,” Gonzalez said. “Also my size, I’m bigger than most of the DBs I face during the year, which gives me an advantage.”

Central Catholic coach Terry Totten cited Gonzalez’s work ethic, coachability and ball skills among his strengths, areas Gonzalez continues to hone as the season approaches.

“My biggest improvement is in field awareness and route running,” he said. “I’ve relied on my athleticism a lot, but I’ve become more technical.”

College coaches have taken notice of Gonzalez’s skills and potential. The rising junior carries scholarship offers from 13 Division I schools, including Pitt, Penn State, West Virginia, Miami, Virginia Tech and Wisconsin.

He has been making visits over the past few months, getting to know the coaches and programs, hoping to find the right fit for himself and his family.

“It’s been nothing but enjoyable,” Gonzalez said of the recruiting process. “Getting to go to colleges and seeing what they have to offer will help me figure out what I want to do with my life.

“I’m looking for a mix of both football and academics. Both are important to me. The school with the perfect balance is high on my list.”

His father, former Pitt quarterback Pete Gonzalez, has been assisting with the recruiting details. He threw for 3,532 yards and 36 touchdowns with the Panthers between 1993-97. He led the Big East with 2,657 yards and 30 TDs in 1997.

“He’s been through it,” said the younger Gonzalez, whose grandfather, Rod Kirby, was a Pitt linebacker in the 1970s. “I just look to him for how to talk to the coaches, answer questions properly and what to evaluate when I’m on visits. He’s helped me keep my head down and decide what I want to do for my future.”

With two years of high school remaining, the future is still a ways away, but Gonzalez is taking steps to make sure it will be a promising one.

Peter Gonzalez

Central Catholic

Junior

6-2, 200

WR

Division I offers: Akron, Central Michigan, Cincinnati, Eastern Kentucky, Marshall, Maryland, Miami, Penn State, Pitt, Syracuse, Virginia Tech, West Virginia, Wisconsin

2021 statistics: 18 receptions, 322 yards, 4 TDs

Highlights: Hudl

Trib HSSN Preseason Football All-Star team

Tyree Alualu, North Allegheny

Aidan Besselman, Upper St. Clair

Brad Birch, Gateway

Bobbie Boyd, McKeesport

Jaren Brickner, Beaver Falls

Cruce Brookins, Steel Valley

Kade Capristo, Mt. Lebanon

Joe Enick, Penn-Trafford

Peyton Faulkner, Avonworth

Davoun Fuse, Washington

Rodney Gallagher, Laurel Highlands

Braylan Lovelace, Leechburg

Bill Hartlep is the sports editor of the Tribune-Review. You can contact Bill at bhartlep@triblive.com or via Twitter @BHartlep_Trib.

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