Editor’s note: The Star is counting down the 22 best high school football players in Southern Arizona, in no particular order.
Name: Serge Gboweiah
Rundown: Gboweiah is a 5-foot-9-inch, 160-pound running back at Desert View High School.
Who he is: The Desert View tailback likes to play games with oncoming tacklers.
“I like to fake people out,” Gboweiah said. “I like to make them think I’m doing one thing, then I’ll do the other. Just outsmart them, basically.”
Gboweiah (and his mind games) make up one half of Desert View two-man rushing attack, along with junior Carlos Alvarez. The two have nearly identical measurables and possess similar skill sets.
A year ago, the pair combined for over 2,500 yards of offense, with Gboweiah leading the team with 1,404 rushing yards and finishing second with 12 touchdowns.
The Jaguars, who are scheduled to open the 2020 season Oct. 30 at Nogales, are again expected to have a strong running attack. It’s imperative that the two running backs are in sync with one another.
For Gboweiah and Alvarez, this isn’t a problem. The two have known each other since their youth football days. Gboweiah distinctly recalled going up against Alvarez in the playoffs and being impressed by him.
“Then when we both got to Desert View and met the summer leading up to freshman year,” he said. “From there we’ve been the dynamic duo. That dude is a solid friend for me.”
Desert View coach Robert Bonillas said having two talented running backs gives him team an edge.
“You got two kids with fresh legs all the time,” he said. “That puts more pressure on the defense.”
Proof he’s good: Gboweiah can recall the name of the play: “32 belly.”
Desert View was backed up at its own 8-yard line against Empire in the final game of the regular season. Bonillas called a run up the middle for the then-sophomore back. Gboweiah got the ball in his hands, and moments later, was in the end zone celebrating a 92-yard touchdown.
The Jags’ offensive line opened up a hole in the middle to get him to the second level of the defense; Gboweiah’s talent and speed took care of the rest. The tailback juked a linebacker and then split the cornerback and safety.
Gboweiah averaged 140 rushing yards per game as a sophomore, and had three games with at least 175 yards.
He said it: “This year I want to work on my elusiveness to make more people miss and then get over 1,400 yards again.” — Gboweiah
Get in the game with our Prep Sports Newsletter
Sent weekly directly to your inbox!