Dayton's Gomez makes smooth transition to football

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Adan Gomez has been a fixture on the soccer and basketball teams at Dayton High School the past couple of years.

Playing football never entered Gomez's mind until last spring when the senior suddenly showed up for spring practice with new coach Rob Turner.

"I don't know," Gomez said when asked why he decided to try out. "I just wanted to try something new. I'd always wanted to play football, but I was a soccer guy. I decided to go out and give it a try."

And, his foray into football heading into tonight's game (7 p.m. kick-off) against defending 3A state champion Truckee has been an unqualified success.

In last week's season-opening 24-14 win over Lovelock, Gomez caught a 13-yard touchdown pass from his tight end position, made two tackles, including a possible touchdown-saving stop on a kick-off, kicked a field, had a 58-yard punt and had five kick-offs inside the 10-yard line.

You would expect those kind of numbers from somebody who has been playing football for a few years not a raw rookie.

So how did Gomez think he fared?

"Good if you go by what my teammates said," Gomez said earlier this week. "I'm not quite sure how I did. It's all new to me."

Turner was excited about Gomez's debut and elated that he has another athlete on his team. Dayton hasn't had very good numbers in recent years, and when you get a guy like Gomez in the fold, it's a coup.

"He just started showing up for spring practices," Turner said. "I asked him what he was doing here, and he said he wanted to give football a try. I didn't recruit him at all. In fact, I told him he should go talk to coach Watts (Karl, soccer coach). I'm not that type of guy who recruits kids from other sports. I ended up talking to coach Watts before Adan did.

"He's an awesome kid; a real quiet kid. He's a real good athlete. I had seen him play basketball. He's a tough kid and very athletic. He's very strong. Because of his aggressiveness I thought he would help us on defense more than offense, but he's an asset on the offensive side of the ball. He walks onto the team and starts at tight end and catches a TD pass in his first game."

Gomez isn't a total stranger to football.

"I watch football on Sunday all the time with my older brother. He told me to do what I wanted to do. The whole family was behind me. They (soccer teammates) were a little disappointed. I was one of the more experienced players and made second-team all-league."

Turner figured that Gomez would be the most help with punting and place-kicking.

"I can't remember the last time we had a good kicker," Turner said. "I think it was Trent Wood, at least that's what I remember.

"The first time he kicked off the tee it didn't go very far. I told him to try to put the ball more upright on the tee. After a couple of more kicks, he kicked it through the end zone and said he had it figured out."

Punting was a little different, and Gomez is grateful for the help provided by Turner and the rest of the coaching staff. The two worked together for nearly 30 minutes earlier this week.

"He was holding the ball a little too low," Turner said. "He needs to kick it out in front. He works hard trying to learn. It's new to him."

And exciting, too. When you ask him about his touchdown catch, you can hear the excitement and pride in his voice.

"It felt amazing," Gomez said. "My first game and I was already catching a touchdown pass. I'm happy my teammates celebrated with me. That made it even better."


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