Phoenix Player of the Year Jake Gandara leaves Fort Gibson with nearly all the single season and career rushing and scoring marks there are to be had.
“It’s exciting to be playing 4-5 more years and I think I’ll probably get to play both of these guys,” he said, pointing to tight end Ned Adair and two-way lineman Andrew Brestel.
Gandara, who chose UCO over Southern Nazarene, never shifted from his commitment last summer. He leaves FGHS after a season where he rushed for 2,234 yards on 243 carries and scored 30 touchdowns.
Gandara may get hit by Brestel, an All-Phoenix selection as an offensive lineman, who will play on the defensive front for Pitt State, like UCO a member of the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association. The traditional national power was sold on the 6-3, 280-pounder after his game with Anadarko.
“It was his athletic ability and how he showed he could run down a tailback,” FGHS coach James Singleton said. “Not that he didn’t have a great career as a blocker, but it just took that game film for them to know what they wanted.”
“For Division II, it’s a really big-game atmosphere up there,” Brestel said. “I’m looking forward to it.”
Adair wanted to hold out to see what baseball brought for the Tigers’ starting pitcher. But a lingering sore shoulder on his throwing arm gave him pause. He’ll play tight end at East Central after signing with the Ada school on Wednesday.
“I talked it over with my parents and it was like they said, if you end up having surgery on the shoulder you can still play football because you won’t be throwing, but that surgery could mess up your chances of getting recruited,” he said. “I don’t know if I’ll need it but this way, I can focus on football and they say I’ll get the chance to play baseball there.”
East Central is not on UCO’s football schedule, though.