The Student News Site of Rock Bridge High School

Bearing News

The Student News Site of Rock Bridge High School

Bearing News

The Student News Site of Rock Bridge High School

Bearing News

Childhood unites football players

Both Gadson and Logan plan on playing college football after graduation. Even if they attend different schools, the two plan to remain close.

Seniors Kaleb Gadson and A.J. Logan met before they could hold a football correctly and when celebrating a victory meant fruit snacks and juice boxes. They played together in second grade football and the coach considered them the “big boys” of the team, Gadson said.

The team paired the two because of their similar size. And it wasn’t just in second grade. Somehow the football gods put them on the same team. As they grew up, they continued to have more in common.

“I remember we used to be the slowest in sprints,” Gadson said. “But at the end of one practice when we were supposed to be dog tired, the coach said there was pizza over in the truck in the parking lot, and we just ran as fast as we could over to it, and were the first ones there. Little things like that, I think [the friendship] is kind of special.”

As they grew from hyper boys to angsty preteens, they became friends off the field. Gadson said they learned to support each other through family problems, dad dilemmas and girl drama. Even a fight in fifth grade only brought the two closer.

“I was going to fight Kaleb. I thought he was picking on a little guy, and I didn’t really know the full story. So we fought in the bathroom at school. … Yeah, I hit him. And he hit me as I was leaving in the back of the head,” Logan said. “But the thing is, we were friends the next day. … He’s my brother. We’re always there for each other.”

Peewee games turned into the big leagues of high school. At RBHS, Logan played defensive tackle and Gadson played offensive guard. Because their positions are opposite each other they were constantly together during their many hours of practice. They learned to have respect for one another, as athletes and as people. Gadson said he is going to miss Logan as a friend after this season, not just as a teammate because of the good influence Logan has been in Gadson’s life.

“He has helped me be a better player, but also just a better person. He’s got the right mentality on life. He lives it,” Gadson said. “He taught me to stand up for myself and speak my mind.”

They taught each other many things, and as they grew they learned each other’s quirks, as only a brother can. Gadson said Logan is one of the only people who can tell when he is really angry, and knows how to calm Gadson down.

Gadson learned that Logan is blunt and protects his friends and family. When Logan learned he was going to be a father this year, he made Gadson the godfather of the child. Gadson said he is excited and takes his responsibility to the baby seriously.

“I was there for him when he hurt his knee in the game,” Gadson said. “I’ll be there for him with the baby … I’m going to make a good godfather.”

From overcoming the frustration when RBHS lost the Providence Bowl in September to deciding their college futures, the two leaned on each other for support. So when a huge opportunity came along for Logan this year, Gadson went through the pros and cons with him and helped Logan to make his decision. The University of Missouri-Columbia offered Logan a place on their football team.

“It was surreal. When Pinkel told me the team wanted me, I was so happy,” Logan said. “It was unbelievable.”

After Logan verbally committed to the University, he told his friends. Gadson was elated.

“Sometimes when teammates become friends and one gets a lot of success the other one can get jealous. But then they are not a real friend,” Gadson said. “When I found out that A.J. signed with Mizzou, I was bouncing off the walls because he deserves it. He works so hard, and he has so much natural football talent. I was nothing but happy for him.”

Gadson has his own ideas for the future; he wants to play football at a school and get a degree in medicine, so when he cannot play the sport anymore he will have a career he really enjoys. At this point he is unsure which college he will attend. He said he hopes to get a scholarship because he worries the financial strain of a post-high school education will be difficult for his family.

College isn’t their only worry. With their futures barreling ahead at full speed, both boys are trying to enjoy their final season of high school football, and their last year playing together. Head Coach A.J. Ofodile said throughout the years the two became stronger, and their friendship became stronger because of the sport.

“Football is such a physical grind that, just like anything else that is challenging, when you have someone you go through [it] with it creates a bond,” Ofodile said. “Mutual respect is created from that.”

Gadson said he can picture himself years from now, sitting on his couch on a Sunday afternoon watching Logan play in the National Football League. He said he would cheer like crazy and yell, “I knew that kid back in second grade!” But more than that, he said he pictures earlier on in the morning texting Logan good luck, asking him about practice and his day.

“I don’t want to be one of those friends that isn’t around,” Gadson said. “We’re brothers. … Our friendship doesn’t end when we graduate. … When that last buzzer goes off on the last game this year, I might shed a tear or two. But … even when football is gone, I’m still going to have my friends.”
By Maria Kalaitzandonakes

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