By Kathie Brown
Gobles completed the 2022 season by dropping a regional semifinal matchup against Adrian Lenawee Christian, 49-7. Despite the first-round exit, this was a season to remember for a young Gobles Tiger football team.
Gobles finished the season at 7-3 and clinched their first non-COVID playoff appearance since 2016. Gobles also finished the season ranked 10th in the state in the MHSFCA coaches’ poll for 8 Man – Division 1.
The 8-man school record books were essentially rewritten in every category this season, starting with the offense who rushed for 263 yards per game as a team. Eli DeYoung led the rushing attack as he tallied 1,488 rushing yards and 23 rushing TDs. Eli’s rushing yards were good for 3rd in the state according to MaxPreps. Eli also threw for 395 yards and 6 TDs on 32 completions. Mason Mansfield was the homerun hitter of the offense as he totaled 634 yards on 50 carries and reached the end zone 6 times. Tony Lisowski chipped in 2 TDs on 221 yards rushing. Stacey Austin, Tristan Harbaugh, Danny Hitchock, and Carter Bell led the offensive line. Harbaugh also had 281 yards receiving and 4 TDs through the air.
Defensively the Tigers had one of the best defenses in the league as they gave up an average of 19 points per game. The Tigers were led by Xavier Wilkes who made 62 tackles, 8 TFLs, and 2.5 sacks. Harbaugh filled up the defensive stat sheet with 53 tackles, 15 TFLS, 5 fumbles recovered, 2 forced fumbles, a defensive touchdown, and 11 sacks. The 11 sacks were good for 2nd in the state according to MaxPreps. Mansfield was also a force as accumulated 45 tackles, 7 TFLS, 4 sacks, 2 interceptions, 1 blocked punt, and 4 forced fumbles.
Special teams were led by Lisowski, who was the primary kicker for the Tigers and specialized in onside kicks. Other contributors on special teams were Anthony Mark, Sal Boger, Trenton Mansfield, and Bell.
Senior leadership is at the core of Gobles Football and this year there was only one, Owen Nuyen. Nuyen has been a significant part of the Gobles Football revival and he stamped his legacy this year as he helped the Tigers make it back to the playoffs. While Nuyen did great things on both sides of the ball, he will be remembered for his leadership, grit, and toughness. It will be hard to replace #8, but we look forward to seeing the next group of seniors continue to elevate the Tiger football program.