There was a time when McGuinness students groused to Gabe Ikard about being bored at Irish football games. Seems McGuinness was winning so big, so frequently that there was no excitement. “When we won the state championship in my sophomore and junior years, everyone was asking, ‘Can’t you make the games a little interesting?’” Ikard said. True, the Irish never lost in that span, going 28-0 and winning the Class 4A crown in back-to-back seasons. But if it was excitement the fans wanted, the Irish — and Ikard in particular — gave it to them in spades this past season. McGuinness started the season 0-2 and then won 11 straight games en route to the Class 4A final. Along the way, there were four victories decided by four points or less — the last two were playoff thrillers that kept alive the Irish’s improbable drive to the state championship game. Ikard provided the highlight play of the season with his 75-yard touchdown catch of a ball that had ricocheted off a defenders’ helmet. The play gave the Irish a last-minute, come-from-behind victory over Sallisaw in the quarterfinals. “After that, everyone was missing the days when we were winning every game big,” Ikard said. “They were saying, ‘You don’t have to make it that exciting.’” Ikard has verbally committed to play football at Oklahoma. The 6-4, 240-pound senior was chosen as The Oklahoman’s Little All-City Defensive Player of the Year and to the All-State team. He collected 24 receptions for 507 yards and nine touchdowns from his tight end spot (the position he will play at OU). And at defensive end, Ikard racked up 60 tackles, two interceptions, one sack and scored a defensive touchdown. Every season was fun in its own right. As a senior, more than ever, Ikard gave the fans what they wanted.