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The Blitz

Midview's Andrew Gooch has passing attack back on track thanks to past stars

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    Edwin Ralat, left standing, Seth Sanders, Andrew Gooch, Isaiah Johnson, and Zac Gill. front, Nathan Bashak, of Midview football, Oct. 10.

    STEVE MANHEIM / CHRONICLE

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Midview wants to throw the football. Midview’s opponents know it wants to throw the football. Even against a stacked deck, the Middies’ passing attack has come up aces all season.

Senior quarterback Andrew Gooch has thrown for 1,869 yards, completing 127 of 237 passes. He has thrown for 14 touchdowns and just three interceptions.

Four Midview receivers have caught over 25 passes, led by senior Seth Sanders with 32 grabs for 328 yards and a touchdown. Senior Edwin Ralat, who was injured last season, has caught 25 passes for 504 yards and a team-high seven touchdowns.

Junior Zac Gill has 30 catches for 237 yards while senior Isiah Johnson has also caught 30 passes for a team-high 631 yards and five touchdowns.

Though the Middies only won their first game of the season last week, a 42-28 road victory over Southwestern Conference foe Westlake, the passing attack has been reliable since Week 1.

“There was no doubt this was going to be the strength of this team coming in,” Midview coach D.J. Shaw said.

“Isiah and Seth are two three-year starters for us and we had a pretty good run the last three years. For them to have started as sophomores is a pretty special thing.

“Zac Gill started as a sophomore for us, Eddie would have played last year for us but was hurt and (junior) Nathan (Bashak) is a guy that’s worked really, really hard. They’re a special group of guys that has put this team on their backs at times.”

Gooch has been a revelation this season after missing all last year with a knee injury. Shaw said Gooch learned from two of the best to ever wear the Midview uniform — Dustin Crum (now at Kent State) and last season’s starter, Seamus Higley.

“He’s got a really good arm,” Shaw said of Gooch. “He was an underrated kid coming into this year. He was a sophomore when Dusty was a senior … he watched and he learned. He was able to take things that Dustin did.

“Last year, when he was hurt, he was around Seamus and was still around the team. He was learning what defenses he was going to see and what we expected him to read.

“There weren’t very many guys that worked harder than him during the offseason. He was always asking questions, he was at everything and he was a leader. He’s a team captain that understands our offense and understands defenses and what they’re trying to do.”

Gooch is looking to pay forward what he learned from his predecessors.

“Dustin was one of the best people I could learn from,” Gooch said. “Now I am trying to take the knowledge I learned from him and passing it down to the next generation. Continuing that tradition is something I think is very important.

“I feel like a lot of the older guys are keeping everyone going. They’re convincing everyone to keep working hard every day. We’re not just out here for ourselves, we’re out here for our school and to try to lead to future success in this program.”

Johnson, who has also won varsity letters in basketball and track, wants to carry on that message as well, regardless of the Middies’ record.

“The classes before us installed that into our brains, that you never stop working,” he said. “You still have to work whether you’re 0-6, 1-6 … it doesn’t matter. The goal is always to win on Friday night and to play for your teammates. It’s a family at the end of the day.”

Ralat agrees.

“I know we’ve had a lot of success here and everyone wants to be a part of it,” he said. “We have a great community here around us and we want to build on that.”

Heading into this season the senior class had seen the varsity post a 27-3 regular-season record. Johnson played a hand in most of those wins, and even though he had been through the wins and playoff trips during his career, last week’s win meant a lot to him.

“It was very special,” Johnson said. “Going into every game we’ve been expected to lose. We don’t look at it that way, we think we can win every game we play. Nothing less than a win is acceptable for us.

“That was a game we knew we should win. We fought all year and to get that win now, we’re just excited to have it.”

Shaw was happy he was able to see his team get paid off for its work this season.

“It was fun and it was gratifying,” he said of the win over Westlake. “Everyone’s not going to have the best season in the world every single year. You try to, but the work we put in during the offseason, especially this group, was no less than any year we were 10-0.

“It’s gratifying as a coach to see some of that work pay off and get to celebrate a victory. It was a lot of fun in the locker room.”

Contact Mike Perry at (440) 329-7135 or macsportstalk@gmail.com.


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