Gateway’s Engleka to join Division III powerhouse
Sunday, February 6, 2022 | 11:01 AM
The University of Mt. Union has been the standard for football success in NCAA Division III for the past three decades.
The Raiders have won 13 national titles since 1993 with the most recent one coming in 2017. Undefeated records have accompanied several of those championships.
Carsen Engleka hopes to be a big part of Mt. Union football’s continued success.
The Gateway senior defensive back celebrated his decision with family, friends and teammates last week at Gateway High School. He adds to the strong tradition of Gators athletes, from the football team and other sports, who have continued their athletic pursuits at the next level.
“The coach came and contacted me, and I knew about the school and program from some friends there (Jordan Stancovich and Jaired Lehman) who went to Gateway,” Engleka said.
“It is just a winning program, and going to a winning environment was something I wanted in choosing a school and taking the next step. I am really looking forward to competing at the next level. As soon as I stepped on campus, I knew it was a no-brainer.”
Engleka said he was looking at Division III schools across the board during the recruiting process.
“They were all great academic schools with great football programs, like Washington & Jefferson and Marietta (Ohio) College,” he said. “I couldn’t have gone wrong no matter what my decision turned out to be.”
Engleka, who also is busy preparing for his senior baseball season, bounced back from a broken arm suffered as a sophomore in 2019 with a strong 2020 as Gateway’s starting signal-caller.
He completed 79 of 138 passes for 1,054 yards and 12 touchdowns against only three interceptions over six games of a season truncated by the covid pandemic. Gateway went 5-1 and made it to the WPIAL semifinals before falling by one point to Peters Township.
“That season was a curve ball to say the least with so many challenges. I think we handled it well and took advantage of every opportunity we could considering the circumstances,” Engleka said.
“Ultimately, we put up a good run even though it didn’t end the way we wanted it to.”
Engleka made the move to a defense-only role at defensive back this past fall with the arrival of quarterback Brad Birch from Jeannette.
He produced strong numbers for a Gateway defense which surrendered just 13.9 points a game, and he earned Big East second-team recognition.
“I told coach (Don) Holl that if he also needed me on offense I was there,” he said.
“I just wanted to do whatever I could to help and be a strong leader for the team.”
Fellow Gateway senior Micah McBean has a similar opportunity to make an impact at the next level. He has committed to joining the football team at Division III Waynesburg in the Presidents’ Athletic Conference.
McBean said the Waynesburg coaches connected with him through the Next College Student Athlete program which offers guidance for the recruiting process and helps athletes get discovered by colleges.
“We just built from the start,” McBean said. “It’s always been a dream to play in college, and Waynesburg is a great fit for me. I am really excited that all the hard work I put in and keeping a positive mindset is paying off.”
McBean said he should figure in at wide receiver for the Yellow Jackets, but wherever the coaches want him in order to best contribute as soon as possible, he will be ready.
“It’s a bonus when good things happen for not only a great player but a great kid,” Holl said.
“Like Carsen, that is what we have with Micah. I’m sure he didn’t get to do everything he wanted to do as a starter. He was a really good player who was just battling against some other really good players on the team. But he did a lot of things on special teams, and he worked like crazy in practice and made us better. He showed the way to the younger guys with how you are supposed to act as a varsity football player.”
Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .
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