• John Macon Gillespie

Gates Influenced By Football Greats

For Baldwyn’s Ovurton Gates, football is more than just a game. It’s his dream. In fact, it has been since he was just seven years old. It all started watching the NFL’s all time leader in returns for touchdown and punt returns for touchdown.

“I grew up watching Devin Hester. He was so fast and I wanted to be like him,” Gates told SES Mississippi. “I know with God, all things are possible.”

Gates, a rising senior, sees similarities in his game to that of the former Chicago Bear and Miami Hurricane. He plans to use those skills to help the Bearcats reach their goals this season.

“We’re both real fast,” He said. “I’m a leader that loves to win and teach the younger guys coming up, what do do. The things I do well are run and catch, cover on defense and my speed.”

“I chase this dream so that I can give back to those who have helped me to be the young man I am today.”

His leadership, he says, revolves around how he plays the game.

“I always give it my all. I play every game like it’s my last,” Gates explained.

The leadership and effort Gates brings to the game could be traced to another influence. For SEC fans, it is a familiar name.

“My favorite thing to do when I’m not playing or working on my game is watch the SEC network,” he noted. “I like the life stories they tell, and the one I really like is the Herschel Walker story.”

In 2015 Gates rushed for nearly 500 yards and three scores. Defensively, he tallied 21 tackles and four pass deflections. But, like Walker, his focus is getting better, not what he has already done.

“This offseason I have been working on my speed, footwork and breaking on the ball. My goals this year are to finish with at least 1,000 rushing yards, at least 30 tackles and at least 10 interceptions,” Gates said.

Last season the Bearcats were able to win 12 games on their way to the 2A North Championship game, where they lost to East Webster. The success can be attributed to their talent and chemistry. However, Gates made it clear they want a different ending in 2016.

“The Baldwyn football program this season is all about going into December to compete for a state championship,” he stated. “We have a big bond because everyone wants to be great and win. After practice and games we all joke around and laugh together.”

Come December Gates already knows what people will be saying about the Baldwyn football program.

“Bearcat pride. People are going to say ‘they did it again,’” He said.

**Photo by Jamie Gray.

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