Mike White | 4 50 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 7
Football player Rob Gronkowski showed flashes of brilliance in his only season at Woodland Hills two years ago, even though the Wolverines didn't throw to him much. Now he's getting rave reviews playing tight end at the University of Arizona.
Gronkowski missed the first three games of this season with mononucleosis. Since his return, he has caught eight passes in two games against UCLA and Washington - and five of the catches have gone for touchdowns. Stanford co-defensive coordinator Ron Lynn compares Gronkowski's comibnation of size (6 feet 5, 260 pounds) and speed to NFL star Tony Gonzalez. Stanford plays Arizona this week.
In an Associated Press story this week, Lynn said, "I don't know of many guys who physically match what he has available to him. He's a big, strong physical guy who can make things happen when he does catch the ball. I'm not going to say he's an impossible matchup, but he's as close as it gets."
I remember being on a talk show two years ago and was asked what player in the WPIAL football class of 2007 had the chance go the furthest in his career. I didn't hesitate to answer Gronkowski. While his ability on the football field was impressive, I thought even more of him after seeing him play basketball at Woodland Hills. He was an excellent leaper, had great quickness for a player his size and showed off his agility with a number of impressive dunks.
Gronkowski has NFL written all over him. And remember the stir he caused when he transferred from a school in Buffalo to Woodland Hills the summer before his senior year? He was ruled ineligible by the WPIAL for transferring for athletic intent. But the PIAA eventually overturned the ruling.
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Here's an interesting statisic: South Allegheny is 4-2 and could claim a WPIAL Class AA playoff berth this season. The Gladiators could win five games in a season for the first time since 1993. In the previous 10 seasons, South Allegheny was 18-80.