Gateway youth football league celebrates 11-12 championship

Nov. 5—Only two programs in the Big East Youth Football League had all four of its teams — flag, ages 7-8, ages 9-10 and ages 11-12 — qualify for the season-ending league playoffs.

One was Penn-Trafford, and the other was the Gateway teams: the Midgets (11-12), Mites (9-10), Termites (7-8) and Flag/Twerps (5-6).

In the 11-12 championship game Oct. 29, the final contest of the entire BEYFL season, the Gateway Midgets brought home the title trophy, defeating rival McKeesport, 14-12, at Penn-Trafford's Warrior Stadium

"It always is a hard-fought game between teams from Gateway and McKeesport," GMFCA President Kip Stewart said.

"A lot of times, it's what you will see in the future at the high school level. There are so many good athletes on the field. McKeesport has so much speed and skill. We relied on our passing game this time to give us some shots down field."

Gateway scored twice in the title game. Quarterback Mayson Mitchell completed a 10-yard touchdown pass to Tayon Mitchell, while Zion Pollard found the end zone on a 70-yard touchdown run.

The Midgets went 5-2 in the regular season and also defeated McKeesport, 14-0.

"We were able to take what happened in the first game to prepare for the rematch," Stewart said.

"We film everything and constantly scout. We game plan with so much and give the kids the best opportunity to win games. They were really prepared to play McKeesport in the championship game."

One of the two regular-season losses was to Penn-Trafford, 48-36. But the Midgets returned the favor in the semifinals with a 30-12 victory to punch their tickets to the championship game.

"The Big East is super competitive where you can lose to a team in the regular season and beat them in the playoffs and vice versa," Stewart said.

"Penn-Trafford had a big kid who we weren't ready for the first time. But we changed some things schematically, and came back with a good game plan."

The top six teams in each of the four divisions made the playoffs. No Gateway team entered the playoffs with lower than a No. 3 seed.

The Midgets were the third seed in their playoff bracket. They rolled past Ark-Ken, 54-6, in the first round Oct. 15.

The Flag/Twerps, Termites and Mites all received byes to the semifinals.

The No. 1 Mites, 6-1 in the regular season, defeated No. 6 ArKen, 6-0, in the semifinals before falling to No. 2 Penn-Trafford, 6-0, in the finals.

The No. 2 Termites, also 6-1 in the regular season, saw their season come to a sudden end with an 8-0 loss to No. 3 Penn-Trafford in the semifinals Oct. 22. The Warriors lost to No. 1 Franklin Regional, 8-0, in the 7-8 division championship game.

The No. 2 Flag/Twerps team, the No. 2 seed, lost 12-0 to Franklin Regional in the semifinals.

Woodland Hills won the Flag title, 24-12, over the Panthers.

"We have all developed an expectation for success within the program," Stewart said.

"We have won championships the past couple of years at three different levels. Our kids have learned how to be prepared and how to win, and the coaches have learned how to coach to win."

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Michael at 724-226-4665, or via Twitter .