Well before the lights come on at W.L. Odom Stadium on Friday nights, there’s no doubt that Wagoner is a football town. And once again this year when the starting lineups are introduced and fans hear the announcer say “Number 20 – Rodriguez” there’s no guessing about the type of player wearing the Bulldog uniform.
Gabe Rodriguez, who first began playing football in the first grade, embraces the challenges and responsibilities of his team, his name and wearing the Wagoner uniform.
“I grew up in the hype of Wagoner football,” Gabe said with a smile. “Wagoner is definitely a football town. Check out the stadium when we play at home, it’s always packed. I’ve got a lot of inspiration and influence from my brothers, Roman and Malcolm. Altogether, it’s given me a lot of personal drive to be successful.”
By day or by night, on or off the field, Gabe is determined to find a way to win. In the classroom, he takes care of his assignments while posting a 3.8 GPA that includes mastering the assignments in math classes, his favorite subject. On Friday nights, Gabe who continues a family tradition of wearing the number-20 Wagoner jersey rarely leaves the field producing touchdowns as the quarterback and on defense, Rodriguez becomes a wrecking machine from his safety position.
“I’m the nice guy in the hallways but when we take the field, don’t mess with me because I’m about to go to war.”
Defining himself as a kind and happy person, Gabe confirms what fuels his drive for success.
“In this day and time, you have to work harder than anyone else for anything you want. Your work ethic is the key that opens every door to success, in sports and in life.”
A four sport champion, Gabe is a game changer on the wrestling mat as well as playing baseball and running track where he delivers results like that of his favorite super hero.
“Just like Flash, I like being fast and always getting the job done right the first time.”
The coach of the Bulldogs who has coached all three Rodriguez brothers has nothing but praise for the youngest sibling.
“Gabe has continued to live up to his family name and we’re very proud of him,” said head football coach Dale Condict. “He is a great young man with the same character as his brothers before him.”
While the final chapters are still being written on the football field as the Bulldogs chase the Class 4A playoffs and another chance for a state title in 2022, Gabe Rodriguez thrives everyday on the energy of the school spirit at Wagoner.
“It’s more than just winning games because school spirit is about everybody coming together for the same cause, all for the good of the Bulldogs,” he said. “It means so much to me because our teachers and our coaches work hard to help everyone develop great character and come out with a lot of grit to succeed.”