No shortage of memorable moments from the 2007 and 2006 football seasons for Gabe Ikard. Namely the pair of state championships McGuinness collected.
None compare to what 2008 had in store for him.
"It honestly was the most fun I ever had playing football,” said Ikard. "This season was crazy, it was exciting, it was unexpected, it was rewarding in so many ways. We didn’t win the state championship again, but no season could ever mean more to me.”
Things have even gotten better since. First, Ikard verbally committed to play football at Oklahoma. And now the 6-4, 240-pound senior has the title of The Oklahoman’s
Little All-City Defensive Player of the Year.
"The group of guys we had and all those crazy games that weren’t decided until the last 30 seconds,” said Ikard of the season. "We weren’t expected to be in the state championship game again — especially after we started 0-2.
"But we stuck in there no matter what. We played with some heart. We played with determination. We knew people expected us to lose. Somehow we pulled off an amazing season.”
The Irish 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 was indispensable on offense and defense during the run. In an offense predicated by the running game, he collected 24 receptions for 507 yards and nine touchdowns from his tight end spot (the position he will play at OU). As a defensive end, Ikard racked up 60 tackles, two interceptions, one sack and scored a defensive touchdown.