By Brandie Gay
Special to The Vandalia Leader
There are many words that could describe Van-Far senior Gage Gibson—team player, reliable, positive, accountable, outgoing, motivated and inspiring. Gage Gibson is a decorated athlete from Van-Far who gives back to his community. This is one reason why Gage Gibson was honored with the 2023 MFCA Hands Team.
The MFCA Hands Team is composed of 11 Missouri high school student-athletes and a coach who makes outstanding contributions in the areas of volunteerism and civic involvement and embodies the true spirit of “teamwork” and “giving back” through commendable acts of kindness. The selection is done through nominations from Missouri High School coaches and or coaching staff.
One of the ways Gibson gives back is through his organization, Fair Play-Vandalia. The goal of this service organization is to remove barriers for youth athletes to help them reach their fullest potential. This project started after Gibson attended the HOBY: Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Program. Gibson stated he was umpiring for the local Little League and noticed young athletes who loved the game but weren’t properly equipped to play to their fullest potential, so he started this organization to help young athletes have the proper equipment they need in order to perform at their best!
Performing at his best is what this senior has done and will continue to do his senior year. Gage participates in Van-Far football, basketball, baseball and track. So far this year in football, Gibson has earned MFCA 2023 Hands Team, Second Team All-State Athlete, First Team All-District Running Back, First Team All-District Linebacker, Unanimous First Team EMO All-Conference Running Back, Unanimous First Team EMO All-Conference Outside Linebacker, Defensive Player of the Year and the Golden Helmet. Gibson was named as an all-state second team athlete after racking up 1,358 scrimmage yards and 10 touchdowns, making him the first all-state Indian since 2020. Gibson is also an all-district running back after running for 941 yards and averaging 5.3 yards per carry and also earned a spot as a linebacker after finishing with a team-high 67 tackles, four tackles for loss/sacks and two interceptions.
Currently, at Van-Far it is basketball season and Gibson helps his teammates by being a team player. Watching Gage play sports you can tell that he prioritizes the goals of the team rather than just his interests. Gage believes the best way to achieve personal success is to help their entire team succeed. From Hudl, Gibson said he would “never quit on my team and I, 100%, will do anything for the team to win.” Gibson added, “I’m a straight A student and love learning more about the game of football as well as basketball.”