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Lake Station's Gooch happy taking baby steps

2013-10-20T18:00:00Z 2014-08-20T21:46:21Z Lake Station's Gooch happy taking baby stepsSteve Hanlon steve.hanlon@nwi.com, (219) 933-4198 nwitimes.com
October 20, 2013 6:00 pm  • 

When you're in the valley and the surrounding mountain tops are so high they can hardly be seen, it isn't easy. Not easy at all.

So all you can do to get from here to there is take a step. Baby steps. One after another and before long the peak is closer than it was yesterday.

That's what Lake Station football coach Rich Lunsford brought to the table when he was hired. That is what junior running back Kyle Gooch is trying to take when he runs the ball and tries to run through any bureau in front of his tracks.

"We've come a long way," Lunsford said. "This was a rough program. Over the last decade, 15 years, we've struggled. It;s been an uphill battle. But the kids have really bought in. They're taking baby steps.

"They're buying into the program and they're showing what they;ll do for you. We're all seeing positive things in the future."

In Week 8's 36-12 win over North Newton, Gooch had three interceptions to get his season total up to seven, which was in the Top 10 in the state. He had also rushed for over 800 yards and seven touchdowns.

These numbers are not unexpected for the three-year starters.

"I'm just trying to get good grades, be a leader and help anyone out I can," said Gooch, who is proud of his 3.08 GPA. "I don't have a big social life, but I love what I do."

In this day and age, Gooch is a rare three-sport athlete. He is old-school, playing football, basketball and baseball. There is no specialization with this young man.

The Eagles (2-7) must travel to third-ranked Winamac (9-0) in the Class A, Sectional 41 opener on Friday. Lake Station has not won a sectional game in four seasons.

But Lunsford and his team know turning the tide can not be done overnight.

"It's been a huge difference," Gooch said. "The attitude of this team is much different. Our heads don't go down on the field. We feel like we always have a chance. (Lunsford) changed the whole attitude around."

The core of the team worked hard in the offseason. Wins over Calumet and North Newton were steps in the right direction. They, though, are not where anyone in red and black want it to end.

"We're not measuring this in wins or conference championships right now," Lunsford said. "We're just trying to teach these boys how to compete. Now, they're starting to believe in themselves. Soon, they're going to believe they can win some of these ballgames."

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