BLACKFOOT – When you go to a game and look up and down the line of players on the sideline and see someone who is 5’ 2” and maybe 135 pounds, and I am giving him the benefit of the doubt, you automatically have to think that something is wrong with the picture.
Especially when you are at a football game and the players around him seem to be twice his size, with sweat dripping off their brows and a mean look on their faces after coming off the field.
Then you see the coach beckon and the smallish young man is inserted into the lineup — at defensive back, no less — and the thought of him lying on the field, broken in half crosses your mind.
Have no fear if you are at Firth High School, the player is Gage Vasquez, and as the players around him will tell you, “That kid can ball.”
Gage is a freshman, and although he looks more like a sixth-grader rather than a ninth-grader, Vasquez can indeed “ball” and do it in a big way.
The first game I saw Gage play, he made an interception and I thought, “Hmm, must have been a fluke.”
Then I saw him make a tackle and a couple more plays before he gave way for a more experienced player who was more pleasing to the eye as a football player.
Then, I saw Gage get to play quarterback on the next series. That is when I saw the true value of what Gage brings to the table in the game of football. This kid is the real deal and he is going to drive defenses absolutely nuts when he gets his chance to play next year.
Gage may be small in stature, but he plays much bigger on the field. He is quick, he is fast, and he knows the game.
I witnessed him at Holt Arena during the 2A state playoffs, seemingly corralled in the backfield and burst out of the group, race to the sidelines and turn the ball upfield for a 25- or 30-yard run. Then he did it again, and again, and then he completed a pass some 35 yards downfield. He conjured up memories of Doug Flutie, when he won the Heisman Trophy for Boston College.
Gage Vasquez brings that kind of excitement to the football field.
Gage was the backup quarterback on a Firth team that made it to the 2A state playoffs, and although they lost to Bear Lake in the first round, he showed why so many people are excited about the prospects for the coming years. Most of Firth’s team consisted of sophomores and freshmen and Vasquez will be counted upon to be one of the leaders next fall, when he will be a sophomore.
Don’t count this young athlete out, he is something special and with his athletic skills, will be something to watch.