He’s not a one-trick Mustang

Gabe Taylor, quarterback for the Los Medanos College Mustangs football team, is a two-sport athlete, who also plays baseball at LMC. Taylor was not always a multi-sport athlete however. He grew up playing only baseball from ages 3 to 11 because his mom would not let him play football.

“My mom and dad put me in baseball when I was like 3 or 4,” Taylor said. “It wasn’t until my auntie took me to a football practice at 11 and the coaches persuaded my mom to let me play.”

At the beginning of the season, the freshman was not slotted as the starting quarterback for LMC. Sophomore Julius Mozee, from Pittsburg High School, was supposed to be the answer at QB this year but four games in, Mozee injured his shoulder, throwing Taylor into the fire.

“They gave me the nod in week five and I started to perform” Taylor said. “I give Julius credit, he is still battling a bad shoulder and continues to help us at wideout.”

Listed at 6’3, 180 pounds, Taylor is a relatively skinny quarterback. When you see him, he looks no more than 170, but there is a reason why this kid is now the starter. Taylor has a rocket arm and the attitude of “I’m better than you.”

“I believed I had the physical skill to be the starter, but mentally I was not ready because I was a head case” Taylor said. “Coming from Clayton Valley, I didn’t know how to read coverages, but my coaches stuck by my side and developed me week-by-week as a better player and a better man.”

The Mustangs finished the season 5-5. They ended on a win but were not able to make a bowl game.

“We have overcome a lot of adversity this year” Taylor said. “We lost seven starters due to injury at the beginning of the season, so our record doesn’t exactly show how good we are when healthy.”

At the beginning of the year, they lost sophomore Joshua Jackson from Liberty due to a torn MCL. He would have been the starting running back for the Stangs, but Taylor learned to play with what he is given.

“The greatest challenge is knowing you aren’t getting as many reps as your teammates during the offseason,” Taylor said. “You have to work that much harder on your own if you want to be ready as the backup. Working hard is what I’ve had to do my entire life though, so I’m used to it.”

On the baseball diamond, it is evident Taylor could be a two-sport athlete, as he pitches, plays infield and outfield for LMC. At every position, Taylor expresses his strong arm and athletic ability, but working hard at two sports can get tiring.

“The best advice I could give a fellow two-sport athlete is don’t give up and stay determined” Taylor said. “Trust me, you are going to get tired, you are going to get stressed and you’ll have no free time, but in the end it’s worth it. You are doing something not a lot of people can say they did in college. So just stay focused and determined and you’ll be all right.”

As for which sport Taylor thinks he is better at, he likes to believe he is the best at whatever he does, not in a cocky way, but a confident way.

“I wouldn’t say I’m better at one sport than the other because they are two different skills mentally and physically,” he said. “If I had to say one or the other I would say baseball. I mean hopefully I’m better at it than football, I’ve been playing it for eight more years total.”

It is not to say that Taylor likes one better than the other, both sports have their perks of exhilaration, but growing up he said baseball really came first.

“Growing up my dream was always to become a college baseball player and then a professional,” he said. “Baseball was night and day until I was about 11, then sports in general just became my night and day.”

It can be very easy to lose track of why you do what you do when you are a two-sport athlete. Taylor has a very specific inspiration that he keeps him going and keeps him pushing through each wall.

“My drive is my mom because her and my family live in a homeless shelter in Bay Point,” Taylor said. “I can’t stand to see her there so she is definitely my motivation on and off both the football and baseball field.”

After taking over the quarterback job this season, Taylor looks poised to have a very good sophomore season with the help of some injured players getting healthy and returning. On the baseball field, he might not have a solidified spot where he can say he plays every day, but if he continues to put in the effort he does, his athleticism will show and baseball head coach Anthony D’Albora might not be able to keep him off the field.

“The only thing that goes against Gabe is the fact that he’s not out here everyday with us,” Miles Robertson, a freshman baseball player at LMC said. “When he is out here though, you can definitely see just how athletic he is, and that should bode well for him as not only a quarterback next year, but as a baseball player this year.”