Gateway athletes pick up postseason honors after challenging fall

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Sunday, December 13, 2020 | 8:40 PM


The Gateway boys and girls soccer teams and the Gators football team each earned WPIAL playoff berths in a fall season dominated each week by covid concerns, cancellations and delays.

The teams overcame a week-long practice and competition stoppage in pursuit of postseason opportunities.

Several individual standouts helped fuel the playoff runs, and they were honored with selection to all-conference and All-WPIAL teams.

The Gateway football team played just six games but won five en route to a WPIAL Class 5A semifinal appearance. The Gators shut out Penn Hills, 14-0, in the quarterfinals before a heartbreaking 20-19 loss to Peters Township a week later.

The Gators placed five players on the Big East Conference first team — junior wide receiver Patrick Body, senior athlete Chamor Price, senior defensive end JT Taylor, junior defensive end Hunter Dow and senior defensive back Derrick Davis.

Body and Price each hauled in four touchdowns for the Gateway offense, which averaged 32.2 points a game, third in Class 5A behind Pine-Richland (48.6) and Penn-Trafford (41.5).

Taylor, Dow and Davis helped the Gateway defense limit opponents to 11.5 points a game.

Davis, an LSU commit and Trib 25 selection, also rushed for 747 yards and 11 touchdowns and added 18 receptions.

Second-team Big East honors went to junior guard Baron Vowler, junior quarterback Carson Engleka, senior kicker Jayson Jenkins, senior defensive tackle Kelvon Nelson, senior outside linebacker Hayden Hurt and junior inside linebacker Aiden Smith.

Senior center Patrick Baumann, senior tackle Dom Pascarella, senior inside linebacker Diego Bledsoe, junior outside linebacker Jermir Harber and senior defensive back Bonzi Parks were honorable mention picks.

The Gateway girls soccer run came to a close in a Class 3A first-round loss to finalist Plum, the No. 2 overall seed.

The Gators (7-9, 5-7 Section 1) overcame obstacles, including losses of key players, to earn their third straight playoff appearance. They lost three section games by just one goal and another by two goals.

Senior four-year starter and team co-captain Joelle Jenkins, a defender, was named to the All-WPIAL Class 3A team. She was one of seven players selected from Section 1.

Joining Jenkins on the all-section squad were senior goalkeeper Ava Weiss, juniors midfielder/forwards Addy Green and Kira Pavlik and sophomores Daniella Garner (midfielder/forward) and Madi Jesih (defender).

Pavlik and Garner led the team in scoring with six goals apiece.

The Gators boys soccer team finished fourth (8-6) in Section 4-3A and clinched its first playoff trip since 2016. However, Gateway, the No. 14 seed, didn’t have enough firepower in the WPIAL first round and dropped a 6-2 decision to No. 3 West Allegheny.

Senior goalkeeper Sam Alexander, who helped pitch four shutouts with 68 saves and a 2.66 goals-against average, was selected All-WPIAL.

Senior midfielder Chris Snyder, who led the team with 21 goals in 15 games, joined Alexander on the Finest 15 all-section team. Senior midfielder Alex Gutierrez was named all-section honorable mention after scoring five goals and adding four assists.

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at mlove@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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