MINOOKA – The first time Minooka football coach Paul Forsythe saw star tailback Nate Gunn, he thought somebody was playing tricks on him.
Gunn, who was in seventh grade at the time, was just coming off a third-place finish in the 155-pound division of the IESA state tournament and he didn’t exactly look the part of a 13-year-old.
“I saw him, and I didn’t know who he was. I though he was a junior transferring in,” Forsythe told Bob Narang in a Sept. 5, 2013 article in the Chicago Tribune.
Now, Gunn is the unquestionable centerpiece of Forysthe’s offense as the Indians hope to rebound from a disappointing 3-6 season in 2013 and earn their first playoff berth since 2011.
Standing 6-foot-1 and weighing 210 pounds, Gunn is one of the most imposing backs in the state. Last season, Gunn powered Minooka to a season-opening victory over Morris with a 151-yard, two touchdown performance.
On the season, he rushed for 860 yards and 14 touchdowns.
Now after a long offseason of working to improve his speed and his overall game, Gunn is looking to the Morris game again to start off what he hopes to be a big senior season.
“That’s the big game,” Gunn said of the annual matchup with Morris. “After we play Morris, we are already talking about Morris next year. Last year was the first time we beat them in 14 years, and it was exciting.
“We’re pumped and I know the stadium is gonna be pumped. Everyone is gonna be out there and we want to go out there and get after ‘em.”
Of course, Gunn’s ultimate goal is to get Minooka back to the playoffs and he’s looking at the opener as a chance to springboard the Indians season.
“We’re trying to get Minooka football back on the map. I remember my eighth grade year when Minooka was in the quarterfinals, and that’s still a team everyone talks about. Honestly, I think we have the players to do it again this year, and I think if we can get that win we’re gonna open some eyes,” Gunn said.
If Minooka hopes to make a deep postseason run, they’ll rely heavily on Gunn to do so, and if Gunn can get his grades in order and have a huge season, it may lead to a chance to play Division I college football.