by Beau Wicker
Caston’s football team recorded its best regular season since 2003 this year.
A big reason behind the success has been the running of fullback Jeremy Gonzalez.
The 6-foot-1, 175-pound senior has rushed for 1,285 yards and 15 touchdowns this season.
“It’s been an exciting year,” Gonzalez said. “We have a bunch of seniors who have stepped up every Friday, and we play our hearts out and leave it all on the field.”
Gonzalez, who also starts at free safety, has particularly done a lot of damage to opposing defenses in recent games, as he’s ran for 624 yards and nine touchdowns over the last three weeks.
“He plays very hard,” Caston coach Chris Ulerick said. “He is a really strong kid and it shows. He’s one of the hardest hitters we have. He usually makes the biggest pop of the night.
“He’s had a great season. He’s started since he was a freshman. He’s been around for a lot of wins with Caston. He’s a good, solid player. He’ll really be missed next year.”
A particularly memorable game for Gonzalez was the 20-15 win over Winamac in Week 8. During that game, starting quarterback Quentin Douglass left early in the second quarter with a rib injury. Gonzalez moved over to quarterback and carried the Comets on his back, rushing the ball 38 times for 205 yards and two touchdowns.
“That was the most dominating individual performance I’ve ever seen or been a part of,” Ulerick said. “He pretty much beat them by himself. With Quentin out, we just snapped it to him and he ran where the holes presented themselves. It was a great game for him.”
Gonzalez was humble when recalling the game.
“I put that on my line. They gave me big holes to run through. Without my line I wouldn’t have had as many yards as I had that night,” he said.
The Class A No. 13-ranked Comets (8-2) host No. 1-ranked and three-time defending state champion Lafayette Central Catholic (9-1) tonight in a sectional semifinal game.
“I’ve been told they’re real fast,” Gonzalez said. “Hopefully the weather will help us. I think it’ll be an exciting game. I think we’re ready for them this year. We have an extremely good offensive line. I couldn’t have did what I’ve done this year without them.”
Gonzalez also plays forward in basketball and center field in baseball for the Comets.
“We have a bunch of people back in baseball and basketball,” he said. “Hopefully we win sectional and conference championships in both.”
Gonzalez’ older brother, Bryan Powlen, competed in the U.S. Olympic Trials this year in the discus but fell short of making the Olympic team.
“He’s kind of upset with his performance, but he was happy being there,” Gonzalez said. “Coming from a small community in Fulton, it was a big accomplishment for him to represent us there.”
Gonzalez said Powlen now lives in Providence, R.I., and owns a business that sells Internet and phone service. He added Powlen has a goal of making the Olympics in 2016.
The following is a question-and-answer session with Gonzalez.
Q. Of the sports you play, which is your favorite? Why?
A. Football, because it has shown me over the years how to become a good teammate and leader.
Q. How did you first get started in sports? At what age?
A. I got started playing sports at age 4 playing T-ball.
Q. Do you have any family members who played sports?
A. Yest, both of my brothers Bryan and Andy did track, football and wrestling, and my sister Genie played volleyball, basketball and track.
Q. Have you ever played a sport that you were not successful at?
A. Yes, golf in junior high. I couldn’t putt to save my life.
Q. How do you feel you’ve improved as an athlete since you first started playing?
A. I felt I have become a better leader and my work ethic has improved since I’ve first started.
Q. Who do you try to emulate in your life? Why?
A. My brothers because they have shown me you can start somewhere small and then make it big somewhere else.
Q. What experiences have you had in sports have made you the athlete you are today?
A. Winning sectionals last year in baseball has really taught me that offseason work really pays off.
Q. What is something that not everyone knows about you?
A. I was born in New York.
Q. What is your favorite memory of playing sports at your school?
A. My favorite memory would have to be winning the first-ever baseball sectionals last year.
Q. What are your goals for your future? Do you plan on attending college?
A. I plan on going to college to become an athletic trainer.
Each week during the school year the Pharos-Tribune recognizes an athlete from one of five area high schools. The recipients are selected by each school’s athletic department.