“He is not a real vocal leader,” coach Scott Hare said. “He just kind of goes about his business and does what he needs to do.”
Senior wide receiver Gehrig Parks is in the business of catching passes: A lot of them.
In what essentially amounts to his third year of football, Parks has become one of the most dominant receivers in the High Desert League. The senior missed his sophomore year with a hip injury.
Parks played a couple years in grade school but did not put the shoulder pads on again until his freshman year.
“It was really kind of nerve-racking I guess you could say,” Parks said of missing his sophomore season. “You watch your friends play and there is nothing you could really do about it, so I just had to be their supporter.”
In Friday’s 61-34 win over Hug, Parks hauled in five passes for 117 yards and a touchdown. He also added two touchdowns on the ground on his only two carries of the night. The frightening part for HDL defensive coordinators: the output was not close to matching his highest of the season.
Parks’ goal is to reach 1,000 yards receiving this year and he got a quarter of that against Scotts Valley, Calif. earlier in September. The wideout, who also starts at safety for the Cougars, caught 13 passes from his quarterback Hunter Fralick for a behemoth 255 yards and three scores.
Parks’ success is coming as a result of his ankle-breaking shiftiness and a long time connection with his signal caller.
“It’s awesome because Hunter and I have been best friends since first grade so we have always talked about this since we were little kids,” Parks said. “It’s cool to be here now doing this with him.”
The success Parks has had this season would cause many to develop a swollen head but the senior has become anything but a prima donna.
“Coach tells me to run a route and I’ll run it is hard as I can I guess,” Parks said. “And if the ball is there I’ll catch it.”
And the ball has been there time and time again for Parks this season.
“He obviously is our go-to wide receiver,” Hare said. “He makes the plays when we need him to make the plays.”
After graduating in May, Parks said he is leaning towards attending Mendocino College, a community college in Ukiah, Calif, not to catch passes, but to pitch.
Parks is a lefty who features the daunted knuckle-curve and also plays center field for the Cougars. He said the baseball team has already started offseason workouts and he will join the team once his senior football season comes to a close.
When he’s not running routes or throwing bullpens, Parks enjoys establishing his place in the food chain hunting duck. The duck season opens Saturday and Parks said he is off to Fallon after the Cougars’ game at Reno Friday to catch the start of the season.
Parks is the owner of a 3.4 grade-point average and aspires to break into the media production field as a sports camera director.
Until then however, the Spanish Springs standout is focused on soaking in the waning months with his friends.
“(I am going to miss) the friends and getting to see them everyday having the sense of ‘let’s go have fun at school today.’ The sports and the friends part is going to be hard for me because you’re leaving a lot of people.”