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Birthday Bonanza

PROCTORVILLE — If Gabriel Freyre could have a birthday wish, it would be to play more football.

Thursday will be Freyre’s 18th birthday and it appears the Chesapeake Panthers’ senior running back won’t have to blow out any candles. His wish has come true.

Freyre signed a letter-of-intent to play football at Pikeville College and extend a playing career he wasn’t ready to relinquish.

“I love football. I’ve played since the age of six and I’m turning 18 on Thursday. I don’t want to quit playing yet,” said Freyre. “This was my first year to start (varsity) and I showed what I could do. I want to do that where ever I go.”

Freyre’s first year in the starting lineup proved to have quite an impact.

The 5-foot-9, 165-pound was the main weapon for the Panthers. Freyre ran 131 times for 1,083 yards and 12 touchdowns in nine games.

“He’s pretty strong. He works hard in the weight room. He has good speed and he’s a pretty tough runner. That’s a good place for him,” said Panthers’ coach Phil Davis.

Freyre was first team All-Ohio Valley Conference and first team on the Associated Press Division V All-Southeast District team. He later earned special mention All-Ohio by the AP.

Freyre entertained offers from a dozen schools before picking Pikeville over Ohio Wesleyan and Michigan Saginaw.

“I liked the coaches. I like the school. I think it will be a good experience there. I have a good chance to play either running back or slot back,” said Freyre.

“(The coaches) liked my speed and they liked how I played and my performance. They told me I had a very good chance of starting.”

Besides running back, Freyre was an excellent return man for the Panthers.

“I haven’t talked to the coaches about it, but I’m sure I’ll get a chance (at returning kicks),” said Freyre.

Freyre plans to major anthropology or pre-med. He said getting a good education is his first priority, but he is anxious to get the opportunity to play at the college level.

“I really want to do well and to show people I can do it on the college level,” said Freyre. “My goal is to start my freshman or sophomore year. My goal is to eventually get 1,000 yards (rushing). I don’t know if I will, but that’s what I’m going to shoot for.

“I have to be ready to step up. It will be a step higher. The players are bigger, stronger and better. I’m going to have to be strong and play up to my ability.”