By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes
Isaac Parker, head coach of the McNary High School football program, remembers the very first moment he saw Hayden Gosling throw a football.
“I remember seeing him throw the ball in the gym with some buddies, and I texted Coach (Josh) Vanlue right away and said, ‘I think we found us a QB (quarterback),’” said Parker.
Gosling, more frequently addressed as “Goose” in sports settings as a Celtic, had taken a year off from football after playing as a freshman, but became the shot-caller his junior year.
“In addition to being a smart player who understands the game, he gave the team confidence and was someone the rest of the players could believe in,” Parker said.
Gosling became a cornerstone of a Celtic team striving to redefine itself and that’s what he’s most proud of as he turns to college and plans to play for the George Fox University Bruins.
“The whole athletic department has changed here in the past two years and it’s good to see,” Gosling said.
Gosling will join the GFU program as it makes a return from a 45-year hiatus.
“Hayden appeared on our radar after one of our coaches watched him perform very well against North Salem High School,” said Gabe Haberly, the Bruins’ quarterbacks coach. “Then, I personally came to watch him play against West Salem High School, and I was impressed with his ability to throw the football and lead the team. I hope Hayden can bring leadership and confidence to our new program. Those two traits will be the most important as we restart football here at GFU.”
Haberly said Gosling has a shot at becoming the team’s first starting quarterback of its new era.
“I also hope that he will build his skill set of footwork, accuracy, arm strength, and mobility to make him become an effective QB in the Northwest Conference,” Haberly said.
Gosling said finding the right academic program was the most important thing he looked at and that football -was something like icing in on the cake.
“I plan to major in finance and minor in economics and they have a great school for that,” Gosling said. “I love the campus. With the football program coming back, I thought let’s go play for them.”