No. 15 Aberdeen enjoying Gasdias' brotherly love

October 23, 1994|By Steven Kivinski | Steven Kivinski,Contributing Writer

Mention the name Gasdia at Aberdeen High and the first response you'll get is: "Which one?"

There are three enrolled at the school and two are trying to lead the Eagles' 15th-ranked football team to its first state title and first playoff appearance since 1991.

The third is Joey, a sophomore trying to help Aberdeen's junior varsity squad defend its county title.

"All three brothers get along very well, which is nice to see," said Aberdeen coach Kevin Reilly. "They are very supportive of each other and they aren't jealous of each other. They're all good kids."

The oldest is Paul, a 5-foot-7, 238-pound senior, who, when not playing center and defensive tackle for the Eagles (6-1), handles all punting and kicking duties.

"I love kicking, that's fun for me," said Paul, a former soccer player who was too heavy to play recreation football. He has kicked 18 extra points and three field goals, including a 27-yarder that proved to be the game-winner as the Eagles staved off then-No. 13 C. Milton Wright, 22-21, for the first time in five years.

"I like playing defense, but a kicking game is something a lot of other schools don't have and it can help you win ballgames."

As can his brother Andy, a sophomore and a two-way starter at wide receiver and defensive back.

That's one of the reasons Reilly decided to keep the underclassman on the varsity roster.

"Andy is a gifted athlete," said Reilly. "He was a tremendous player on JV last year and he's done a great job on the varsity this year. Andy has a lot of natural ability and he knows what to do and when to do it."

One of those moments came late in the Bel Air game, when Andy scooped up a short punt and improved his team's field position by 20 yards.

A few plays later, the 5-9, 155-pound sophomore hauled in a game-winning 27-yard touchdown pass that helped his team past the previously unbeaten Bobcats, 18-16. It was Andy's second touchdown catch of the day, the first a 32-yarder.

"He wasn't back to receive the punt, he was up in the flats and no one expected him to pick it up because it was so short, but he just grabbed it and took off," said Reilly, who watched Andy pick up a fumble and race 31 yards for a go-ahead score in the Eagles' upset of C. Milton Wright.

"Not many sophomores would take a chance like that late in the game but then again, he doesn't play like most sophomores."

In seven games, Andy has six touchdowns, four on passes from quarterback Terrance Washington. From his position in the secondary, he's recorded 17 solo tackles and 14 assists, a few stops shy of Paul, who has 18 solos and 19 assists and one fumble recovery.

On offense, Andy has caught only five passes but four of those went for touchdowns. Paul trails his brother in points, 36-27, but he makes up for it averaging just over 30 yards per punt.

"Paul is very quick for his size and he has very nice hands," said Reilly. "Paul is very strong, he's quick and has a low center of gravity, which enables him to get underneath of an opposing player. He's a very intense player."

And in due time, Reilly expects Andy to play with the same intensity.

"Paul is a little bit older and he's a little more vocal and more of a team leader, but for a sophomore being on varsity, Andy isn't far behind," said the Eagles' second-year coach.

"Both of them have a very good knowledge of athletics, particularly of the game of football. They understand the game and have good football instincts."

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