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It’s Air Force for Gibbs

By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY

Daily News

Before his senior season, LaGrange High’s Kale Gibbs had received scant interest from college coaches.

That changed in a big way last fall.

Gibbs, a running back, had a phenomenal senior season, and he ended up leading Class AAAA in rushing yards.

The offers, which weren’t there before the season, came flooding during the season, and a few weeks ago Gibbs made his decision.

Gibbs will be carrying his considerable skills to Colorado where he’ll enroll at the Air Force Academy and join the football team.

Gibbs celebrated his decision during a ceremony in the Steve Pardue indoor practice facility on Wednesday, and he was joined by those who have helped him reach this point, including his supportive father Chuck Gibbs, who was the LaGrange High head coach in 2018 and 2019.

“To be able to go play Division I, that’s just a dream that I’ve had since I was young,” said Gibbs. “My dad was always a football coach, my granddad’s a football coach. It’s been in my family for so long. That, and being in the military and serving the country. Those two things have been imbedded in my family, and I always dreamed about being able to achieve it, and I never thought I could. I went into my senior year with no offers, and then my senior year blessing after blessing came along, and the ability was given to me, and now I have the opportunity to go serve and play at a Division I school. That’s just a dream come true.”

Chuck Gibbs knows what it’s like to play football at a military academy.

Gibbs played for the United States Military Academy (Army), and he was a football and track-and-field standpoint in West Point. Chuck Gibbs saw the commitment his son made to making the most out of his senior season, and that effort paid dividends.

“He made the most of it, training six days a week from March on,” Chuck Gibbs said. “We set up a gym in the garage. I’m a track coach and a strength coach. He didn’t miss. His relative gains, relative to everyone else, were huge. So many other people took three or four months off (because of COVID-19). I think that made a huge difference in his life was the work ethic and the preparedness.”

Gibbs, whose first two seasons at LaGrange were slowed by injuries, came out ready to roll and ran for 136 yards in the opener against Upson-Lee.

Gibbs never slowed down, and he ended up running for more than 1,700 yards while averaging close to 10 yards per carry.

Defenses knew what was coming, but Gibbs still managed to put up big numbers week after week, and he ended up making multiple all-state teams.

Gibbs helped the Grangers to 8-4 and reach the second round of the state playoffs.

“He didn’t have a lot of film before this year with injuries and things like that,” said LaGrange head coach Matt Napier. “He went all out. His accomplishments are well-deserved.”

Napier added that “his heart and his commitment and his effort and his personality are exactly how you draw it up. He just played with an effort that you ask all kids to play with, but you don’t get it from them all. His leadership and his work ethic are second to none.”

While Gibbs is eager to begin his own college journey, he’s also looking forward to seeing what his fellow signees will accomplish in the coming years.

“The rest of these guys have worked hard alongside me,” Gibbs said. “I have no doubt that they’ll find success. Hard work is the core of this program.”