This month’s issue celebrates an important anniversary for Pantego Christian Academy. To help mark the occasion, we want to share the first story we ran on the school, in this space, during our first year of publishing Arlington Today magazine.
The play was an end around, and the team’s top running back had executed it just like it was drawn up. Feet churning, he hurdled the defensive corner back then was hit by the safety and spontaneously extended his left arm to break his fall while digging for another yard or two as the ground came up to meet him.
Sergio Gordon, driven by adrenaline, headed for the huddle where the next play was to be a handoff to him where he would sprint across the field and deliver a pass downfield.
Then he noticed something was wrong with his arm. It looked “deformed,” so he instead turned and hustled to the sidelines in the direction of the team’s trainer and orthopedic surgeon.
In the locker room a little later, Dr. Katherine Coyner of UT Southwestern’s Sports Medicine Program told him the last thing he wanted to hear: “Both forearm bones are broken, Sergio, and your season is over.”
It was Pantego Christian Academy’s second game of Sergio’s senior year. Head coach Jerry Hawkes had pretty much designed the team’s offense around the very talented 170 pound, 5-foot, 6-inch-tall dynamo who had been playing football since first grade.
Now, all that would have to be changed. More than the pain from two broken bones, Sergio felt he had let his teammates down. He would be back, he promised, even though the doctors said that wouldn’t be possible.
Next came the surgery that resulted in the installation of a metal plate and some screws. It would take at least three months to heal, the doctors said – the school would be playing basketball by then.
The day after the surgery, Sergio did some pushups. He declared his rehab was underway. His doctors reacted by scolding him for taking such a risk. “You have to give your arm time to heal,” they explained.
Sergio’s response was to reassure them: “My God has me on a different schedule; there are no limits to what He is capable of doing.”
Six weeks later they were convinced enough to design a removable, two-piece hard cast that could be wrapped with foam and taped tight all in accordance with the requirements necessary to get clearance from the officials for him to get into the game.
He took the field in game nine. The Pantego Panthers were up against an undefeated powerhouse West Texas team that was scoring an average of 55 points per game. Sergio got the call on the first play – a completed pass and 12-yard pickup. He was back.
The Panthers didn’t win that game, but they did score more points against the four-time state champs than any other team they had played all season.
Then came the final game of the season. The Panthers would win it by a 30-point margin. Sergio caught three passes and scored three touchdowns, crashing through the opponent’s defensive line that night.
Sergio’s next steps include choosing from the college football scholarships he has been offered – just the kind of opportunity his maternal grandparents had in mind when they immigrated to the United States from Guam.
His brother LeAndrew red-shirted at Kansas State this year – the alma mater of their father, Joe (an Arlington High alum), who went on to play for the St. Louis Rams. So, it would be predictable that Sergio, with his 3.4 grade point average, may follow in their footsteps.
No matter which school is lucky enough to land him, he will honor their decision by doing his best – which, considering the source of his strength, is going to assure a winning result.