Junior running back Gabe Watson is establishing himself as one of Piedmont’s all-time great running backs, but don’t let his humble workman-like demeanor fool you. As soon as he touches the ball defenders get a heavy dose of strength, speed and determination from this remarkable athlete.
Two weeks ago versus Mt. Eden homecoming fans were treated to an 18 carry 187 yard rushing performance, all of which looked painful for defenders. But what sets Gabe apart is his versatility, effectively becoming a 3 dimensional athlete on the field. On offense he is used in multiple positions, lining up at running back on one play, then directing the offense in a wildcat package as quarterback the next. When spread out as a receiver, he is equally dangerous. Just ask Richmond defenders who were burned for a 94 yard touchdown in game 5.
When the defense hits the field it is time for Gabe to rest? No, he’s lining up at safety. A break during special teams? Rarely.
For football teams to have success such as the 2014 Highlanders, it usually requires players on all sides of the ball putting together exceptional seasons. Gabe Watson has held up his end and more. Instead of resting on his laurels of a fantastic 2013 sophomore season where he scored 19 touchdowns, he’s continued his scoring pace with 19 additional scores though game 9 of 2014.
And when the team needed a slight miracle to pull out a last minute win versus Hayward, Gabe put the team on his back and took the kick-off for one of the most electrifying last minute touchdowns ever. Said former Coach Mike Humphries after the score, “Wow, we just got to witness that”.
It’s probably fair to start mentioning Gabe Watson with Piedmont Football running back greats such as Tom Williamson, George Williamson, Jeff Haile, Doug Duncan and Ben Fendel, but don’t mention this to Gabe. He’s too busy trying to do his part as another member of his team, who wouldn’t be having such success without the hard work of his fellow teammates.
Records held by Watson through his junior year:
Most touchdowns in a season (19)
Total touchdowns (38) and counting
Longest rushing touchdown (99 yards)