Photo by Beau Bearden.
KINGMAN – Chris Gomez wasn’t ready to see his football career end.
The Kingman High School senior took the first step in making sure that it doesn’t as he signed his National Letter of Intent to play at Missouri Valley College.
“There were plenty of great options, but Missouri Valley definitely topped them all,” Gomez said. “It’s really beautiful out there. I’ve never been, but it’s all about the risk.”
While Gomez hasn’t stepped foot on campus, he has a great mentor who helped him make his decision. Bulldogs football coach Cam Wierson had Gomez research a number of different colleges before he ultimately decided to play for the Vikings.
“I trust coach with everything because he’s another father figure,” Gomez said. “He really likes Missouri. He was telling me how great it is.”
Gomez will also have a coaching staff that Wierson is very familiar with, which should only make the transition easier.
“I am really close to a couple of guys on that staff,” Wierson said. “So it is a big deal that he has someone he trusts, me, that has people out there that I trust that are looking out for him.”
That is even more important considering Gomez is the first one in his family to go to college.
“My parents are pretty excited,” he said.
That excitement is likely shared by Gomez’s teammates, and he mentioned how much he’s going to miss them. However, he knows how much it will inspire the Bulldogs.
“They’re going to see that I’ve done this and they’re going to want to do this, too,” Gomez said.“I believe each and every single one can do this as well.”
Wierson shares those same feelings as he talked about the fact that “If you’re willing to do the work, there’s a home for you in small college athletics.” He should know after spending a year coaching in the NAIA where Missouri Valley College plays its football.
“I’d say about half the guys on the field aren’t that talented athletes,” Wierson said. “They’re hard-working men who spent two, three or four years changing their bodies in the weight room and during conditioning to earn their way to play the game. Chris could be that guy, that’s why I’m happy I can put my name on him because he’s possibly a guy that will go and change his body over the next two or three years and end up on one of those fields.”
Wierson also mentioned one more fact that should give Gomez all he needs to pursue his goal of playing defensive end for the Vikings.
“Chris’ most valuable intangible is he bought into our program,” Wierson said. “He reached the point where he was willing to do anything to help our football team be better. He was very accountable. I never wondered if he was going to be in the weight room, I never wondered if he was going to be on time for practice. If someone needed a ride to practice, he volunteered to pick them up.
“Those intangibles are so much more valuable than someone that can run fast. … Talent is good – it carries you part of the way, but it takes a ton of grit, dedication and longevity to do it. Chris has it and I hope he sticks with it.”