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Midland's defense has been Gould-en

Oct. 25, 2012 @ 12:35 AM

ONA -- Outside of his football uniform, Cabell Midland High School defensive lineman Gage Gould looks relatively harmless.

He's humble, has red hair and is extremely soft-spoken -- not exactly qualities that strike fear in anyone.

However, when the silver helmet with the red 'M' on the side goes over his ears, he turns into a different thing.

Gould becomes an animal -- a beast that no opposition can contain.

He's a big part of the reason that Cabell Midland is No. 1 in Class AAA heading into this week's bye week.

Opposing teams have to figure Gould into their gameplan because of his rate of spending time in the offensive backfield.

"It's great to have a guy like that who is so explosive. He changes the game. He really does," Cabell Midland coach Luke Salmons said. "A lot of defensive linemen you see are just taking up space. He's not like that. He's a playmaker at 250 (pounds) and he lives in the backfield."

Gould's humble nature came to the forefront Wednesday afternoon.

While being interviewed, his teammates started chanting his name, which prompted Gould's cheeks to turn the same shade as his hair.

He quickly turned his back to his teammates and composed himself long enough to answer the question.

It was the first time this season that Gould has been uncomfortable on a football field -- a place he considers home.

The shyness of the 6-foot, 250-pound defensive lineman left for a few seconds once he got talking about being the biggest nightmare for opposing quarterbacks this year.

"That's what I live for -- Friday night," Gould said. "It's fun. I enjoy going out there every play and getting in the quarterback's face."

He's done it with great regularity this season.

According to Salmons, Gould has nearly 15 sacks on the season while also averaging 15 tackles per game -- not the average defensive tackle numbers.

In essence, Gould has a linebacker mentality in a defensive tackle's body. His pursuit angles and knowledge of where a play is going to go allow him to sniff out a play and stop it.

"I don't see any defensive linemen being better than him," Salmons said. "I usually don't tell him that, but he's really good for us. When you have a kid like him who can change the game, it's awesome."

The Knights are off this week, and with only one game left in the regular season -- a pivotal rivalry matchup with Hurricane -- Gould's goals for the team are still within reach.

"Last year, we were happy to be 7-3 and to make the playoffs," Gould said. "That's not good enough this year. We don't have the same expectations. This year, we want to go 14-0. We want to win a state championship. That's it."