Buffaloes defensive tackle Gabe Cruz is moving on from high school football, after he and his team made a regular season push to qualify for the playoffs during the 2023-24 season.
The senior defensive tackle, who played football all four years for Tooele High, considered his time on the gridiron as part of a brotherhood that was close-knit and helped build one another up.
“Each day I grew closer with all my teammates and we became family throughout the years,” Gabe said. “I’m very glad I got to fight with my teammates and I’m proud to call them my brothers.”
He also noted the change in the team over the last two years, which coincided with the hiring of Coach BJ Hunter. Gabe appreciated Hunter’s balanced approach to developing the team, saying that the players had an equal opportunity to play if they put in the work.
“He gave us the mentality of hard workers and made sure that we always tried our best, but was also good at making the sport fun,” he said. “I feel like the past two years of football with coach Hunter were my best years playing.”
After he graduates in the upcoming spring, Gabe plans on serving a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints before attending college. From there, he intends to earn a degree in engineering and earn a scholarship for either rugby or as a walk-on football player.
In addition to expressing gratitude toward his parents, who he cited as the reason he played football, Gabe also is appreciative of his coaches who guided and pushed him to be a better player.
“[My parents] are the reason why I continued to play high school football, they motivated me to keep going even when I wanted to quit,” he said. “I would like to thank my teammates for being by my side throughout this journey, and for fighting alongside me through thick and thin.
Finally, he paid tribute to former teammate Jayden Davis, who passed away in February of this year.
“I’d like to acknowledge Jayden, who will always be part of our brotherhood,” Gabe said. “Every drop of blood, sweat and tears [this season] was for him.”