Goodfellow Comptroller Airman named football MVP
By 1st Lt. Leanne Hedgepeth, 17th Training Wing Public Affairs
/ Published January 09, 2013
GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --
A Senior Airman from the 17th Comptroller Squadron was named most valuable semi-professional football player for the state of Texas, Dec 31, 2012.
Senior Airman Clifton Gathers is a running back for the West Texas Scorpions semi-pro football team.
"Cliff's demeanor and dedicated personality shows on the field," David Samaniego, his coach said. "He is an outstanding individual who definitely deserves the state title. Out of seven years of being a coach, I have never seen a player to Clifton's caliber. I kept pushing for him to be recognized. I am blessed to work with him."
Gathers was initially selected offensive most valuable player for his team, based on his statistics from last year. After playing a championship game in Dallas, Gathers was again named MVP. His next recognition was State of Texas MVP. He competed against three leagues of players, 68 teams, and came out on top.
He has also been nominated for All-American Status.
"There is a combination of five sporting news agencies that receive all the statistics and compile them into a status sheet," said Samaniego. "They compare nominees with others around the country as well as other accolades that individual has; community service etc. They come up with a selection. Gathers has made it to the final stage. Announcements are announced hopefully in March. Al Lombardi is the spear point on this project every year, equivalent to the Associated Press or USA Today in the minor league world."
Gathers said he played linebacker in college football. When he learned about the West Texas Scorpions he did not hesitate to try out. He now represents Goodfellow as a running back, jersey number six.
"The way to being successful in a sport is to be involved in one you like," Gathers said.
The Scorpion's believe in joining football with an active volunteer program. Samaniego explained it's a way to give back to the fans and local community who support the team.
"It's part of our philosophy," he said.
"I like playing football and doing volunteer work," said Gathers. "As a team, we have participated in community car washes and feeding the homeless at soup kitchens."
During the off season Gathers works out at Angelo State University participating in lots of cardio and technique work. Samaniego said most of the players barely touch a football during the off season.
"Balancing football practice and games does not interfere with my job on base," Gathers said. "Practices are held Tuesday and Thursday evenings and games are on Saturday. On the remaining weekday evenings, I work out with my team. I hope to go as far as I can with football, while maintaining my military career. I would also like to try arena football, which is held indoor and involves a smaller playing field," Gathers said.
Gathers promotes getting involved with sports, such as football, because it is a healthy hobby to have and challenges us to participate in rigorous workouts.