Gavriel leader of Fat Boy Gang

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Pleasant Grove coach Josh Gibson loves to brag on the talent in the trenches that helped propel his Hawks to a 16-0, state championship season.

A group known to demolish opponents on Friday nights and then pop out of bed before dawn for a day of hunting, they themselves the Fat Boy Gang.

Nick Gavriel

“Most linemen are fun to coach,” he said. “They don’t care if we run or pass; they’re not going to get the ball,” Gibson said. “This group has a ton of fight in them. They’re driven. They’re selfless. They’re the type of young men I’d want my daughter to date, that I’d take for my own sons.

“The game is won or lost in the trenches, and this group likes to win.”

The leader of that pack is Nick Gavriel, who signed his letter to play at Arkansas Tech Tuesday. A first-team All Smoaky.com tackle who graded 95 percent throughout the season and amassed 88 pancake blocks.

Articulate and thoughtful, Gavriel tends to speak for the unit. He’s the one who came up the Fat Boy Gang nickname. At 6-foot-3 and 310 lbs., he usually can be found at tackle on both sides. He burst on the scene by earning district MVP honors his sophomore season. He is the son of Brittany Gavriel and Chris Gavriel.

“Nick Gavriel is the leader of the line,” Gibson said. “This will be the third year in a row that’s he’s a first-team all-district player. “On the film, it’s just pancake after pancake after pancake.”

The secret to his success, and the success of the Fat Boy Gang, is simple.

“Nobody outworks us. It’s that simple,” said Gavriel. “I don’t think anybody practices as hard as we do or plays with as much energy.”

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A veteran journalist and educator, Bill Owney is a 1980 graduate of the University of Florida. Writing awards include APME honors for investigative reporting, the Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Award for public service reporting and numerous awards for editorial, column and news writing. He served as publisher of the Atlanta Citizens Journal and Pittsburg Gazette when each paper won sweepstakes awards from the Texas Press and North and East Texas Press Associations. He spent 15 years as a public school teacher and is an adjunct professor of English at Texarkana College.

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