2017 KHQA Football Awards Week: GABE GOODWIN, Breakout Player of the Year
2017 KHQA BREAKOUT PLAYER OF THE YEAR (as voted by you on Facebook)
GABE GOODWIN, Palmyra OLB/TE
RATIONALE: The preseason prognosis didn’t read as overly promising.
Kevin Miles was charged this summer with restocking his Palmyra “Pigskin Pantry” with no less than sixteen new starters; about as complete an overhaul as you will run across in high school football.
Speaking even more plainly, the existing framework around which to shoehorn in all this change boiled down to just two known commodities: Peyton Plunkett and a Place Kicker who wasn’t yet medically cleared to kick.
Talk about daunting propositions…
And yet, Coach Miles and his staff weren’t panicked by that challenge in any way; nor were they willing to lessen internal expectation or term this a rebuild. The Palmyra folks pride themselves in the art of player development and they knew better than anyone the potential of the kids waiting in the wings; anxious now to finally have their moment to be that next man up.
No one wore that mantle more impressively than Senior Gabe Goodwin; who ascended from relative unknown to All State Tight End and All Conference Defense Force over the course of twelve weeks.
We probably should have had some inkling such transformation was possible, maybe even probable here.
The Panther Defensive system has a funny knack for giving rise to spectacular playmakers. And Goodwin certainly looked the part on paper, with his 6’3” frame and ideal college-type wingspan and speed as an edge threat. But the instincts and nose for the football were only revealed when Gabe was given his window.
The yield here was spectacular. His work in place of graduated star Casch Doyle at Tight End was a critical fill for the Panther Offense. Sure, Palmyra doesn’t throw a ton and Gabe’s numbers (12 catches, 185 yards and a touchdown) may not be jaw dropping. They also don’t take into account just what a prized blocker he was within the frame work of Kevin Miles offense, a talent that more than anything earned him Second Team All State plaudits from the Missouri Football Coaches Association.
His work on defense was far harder to miss. Eight One tackles on the season alone is one heck of a resume bullet point. But it’s the big play splash that really distinguished Gabe’s tenure this Fall. He finished second on his team and third overall in the area with 16 tackles for loss. And he emerged quickly as Palmyra’s number one rush threat, ending his year with five quarterback sacks in the offing. It’s telling that Goodwin might have delivered his best performances on the biggest stages, most notably a two sack tour de force against Monroe City’s vaunted Offensive Line.
In all, a pretty incredible two-way resume for true “late bloomer”
But here’s the thing, while it might have taken Gabe Goodwin three years of dues paying to earn his window; the manner in which he seized it may indeed give him the chance to play more football down the road. How’s that for quote-unquote breakout season of the highest order?
2016: Pasqual Guilovogui, Beardstown
2015: Cory Miller, Unity/Payson
2014: Sidney Wear, South Shelby
2013: Alger Saldana, Central-Southeastern
2012: Douglas Weese, Central-Southeastern
2011: Clay Finklea, Quincy High