High School Football Notebook: Saddler's returns a kick for Gateway

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Gateway's Cam Saddler is getting close to a national record, but it's questionable if he will get many more chances to reach the mark.

Saddler, a senior, returned two kickoffs for touchdowns Friday against Norwin to give him seven for his career. He had five last year.

According to the National Federation of State High School Associations, the national record for most kickoff returns for touchdowns in a career is nine, set by Trevor Mote of Kingman, Ariz., from 1994-96.

"I highly doubt if I'll get more kicked to me," Saddler said. "I just think they'll keep it away from me."

Of course, Saddler never thought Norwin would kick the ball to him after he returned the second-half kickoff for a touchdown. But Norwin kicked another one right to him later in the game.

"It came directly to me. I see the ball in the air and I'm thinking, 'This really isn't happening to me right now,'" Saddler said. "I never thought that would happen.

"It was like deja vu. The first one, I saw a couple Norwin guys hit the wall like monkeys. So I just went around the wall. The second one, Norwin dudes go flying into the wall again. I was laughing when I was running the second one."

Saddler had missed the previous 21/2 games with a hamstring injury.

A running back/defensive back/kick returner, Saddler has rethought his college decision and is now considering "probably 10 schools."

He had previously narrowed his choices to West Virginia, Michigan, Virginia and Syracuse.

"The coaching situations at some of those schools were getting a little scary," Saddler said. "I didn't want to be down to schools with shaky coaching situations."

Saddler is now considering Pitt because the Panthers have started recruiting him again.

"They offered me a scholarship before, but then they just stopped recruiting me for a while," Saddler said.

But Saddler said he had a long talk with Pitt assistant Greg Gattuso a few weeks ago and now there is mutual interest between the two sides.

More recruiting

Pitt has offered a scholarship to Beaver Falls junior running back/defensive back Todd Thomas. The Panthers are the first school to offer, but Beaver Falls coach Ryan Matsook said West Virginia might also offer in the near future.

Aliquippa receiver Jonathan Baldwin has Michigan on his final list of six colleges. When asked if Michigan's start might affect his thoughts on the Wolverines, Baldwin simply said, "Ehh."

Two Pitt running back recruits from the class of 2008 had big games Friday. Johnstown's Antwuan Reed rushed for 348 yards and scored six touchdowns in a 42-21 victory against Richland. Reed had 346 yards rushing in the first three games.

Also, Wilmington's Chris Burns rushed for 212 yards on 14 carries in a 37-0 victory against Greenville.

Part time on defense

Aiquippa's Baldwin is 6 feet 6, 233 pounds and is ranked as one of the top receivers in the country by some scouting services. That's also great size for a defensive end, but Baldwin sees limited action on defense.

"We have some other defensive ends who are pretty good, too," Aliquippa coach Mike Zmijanac said.

Check this out

Upper St. Clair and Wilson Area, an eastern Pennsylvania team, came into Week 4 tied for the longest winning streaks in the state at 19. But both lost on consecutive nights. Upper St. Clair lost to North Allegheny, 43-19, Thursday. Friday, Wilson lost to Salisbury, 18-0.

Although Mars lost to New Brighton, 34-8, Friday, Mars' Bill Bair had his eighth 200-yard game in his past 12 starts. In those starts, Bair has rushed for 2,520 yards.

Curry wins 400th

Wyoming Valley West's George Curry became the first coach in Pennsylvania history to win 400 games when Wyoming Valley West defeated Williamsport, 41-7, Saturday night. Curry, 62, has a 400-88-5 record. He is in his second year at Wyoming Valley West after spending 35 years at Berwick and four at Lake-Lehman.


Mike White can be reached at mwhite@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1975.


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