Gateway's Dorian Bell is considered one of the top linebackers in the country, and came into the season considered the No. 1 player in the WPIAL. So far, he has done nothing but enhance his reputation -- as a running back.
Bell sees time at tailback and fullback for Gateway. He doesn't carry the ball often, but when he does, it ends up in a touchdown 40 percent of the time.
Bell, a 6-foot-1, 225-pound senior and an Ohio State recruit, carried the ball twice against Norwin Friday, but scored both times on runs of 80 yards in the second quarter and 88 yards in the third.
For the season, Bell has carried 20 times for 459 yards, a whopping 23-yard average. He also has run for eight touchdowns.
"That's why I've always said he's the best player we've ever had," Gateway coach Terry Smith said. "Just because if he focused on one position, he would be the best at that position. If he focused on just running back, he'd be the best in the WPIAL, if not the state. Anywhere we put him, he'd be the best."
But Bell's future is at linebacker. When asked what kind of season Bell is having on defense, Smith, "He's been incredible."
Against Norwin, Bell had three sacks and 10 tackles. For the season, he has 44 tackles, including 10 for losses, six sacks and one forced fumble. And he hasn't played a full game yet because Gateway has blown out every team.
"As coaches," Smith said, "we just keep seeing some different play from him and we say, 'Man, look at that.'"
Gateway is ranked among the top 10 teams in the country in a few different polls, and the Gators will get more national attention this morning. The entire team has been invited to appear on ESPN Radio's "Mike & Mike in the Morning" show featuring Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic at Jerome Bettis' Grill 36 restaurant.
Three close games involving top teams were decided Friday by a coach's decision to go for a 2-point conversion.
North Hills defeated Pine-Richland, 22-21, when it successfully completed a 2-point conversion pass in the second overtime. Upper St. Clair coach Jim Render went for the win in the first overtime against Canon-McMillan, but a 2-point conversion pass failed and the Panthers lost, 28-27.
Also, Avonworth went to 5-0 after a 22-21 victory against Springdale. Avonworth scored early in the fourth quarter to come within 21-20. Although Avonworth had successfully kicked two extra points earlier in the game, coach Jason Kekseo tried for two and Khiry Watts ran into the end zone. The 2-point conversion stood as Avonworth won, 22-21.
After losing two games in a row for the first time since 2001, Aliquippa rebounded in a big way Friday, defeating Mohawk, 61-18. It was the most points scored by Aliquippa since 1963 when the Quips defeated Masontown, W.Va., 63-0. The 61 points for Aliquippa ties for third in school history. The most was 68, set against Avonworth in 1919.
• Jon Monteiro, a quarterback at Daniel Boone High in eastern Pennsylvania, threw for 467 yards in a 31-13 victory against Blue Mountain. Monteiro completed 25 of 38 in a game that was scoreless at halftime. The state record for passing yards in a game is 511, by Downingtown East's Pat Devlin (now at Penn State) in 2003.
• Central Catholic senior kicker Matt Oczypok made two more field goals Friday against Woodland Hills to give him 15 for his career. But he's still not halfway to the WPIAL record of field goals. Peters Township's Bob Milspaw made 35 from 1992-95.
Mike White can be reached at email@example.com .