WINNSBORO — Coker Gilbert is a two-sport athlete who plays baseball and football for the Richard Winn Eagles.
Gilbert is a staple on the team’s offensive and defensive lines who enjoys football’s “high intensity” and “team effort.”
“None of the sport is by yourself,” he said. “You have to have, in our case, seven other people there to back you up whenever you misdo something, and you’re always there to back somebody else up.”
Gilbert’s grandfather played a large role in his life, and taught him many of the lessons football has since instilled.
“My granddad is one of my big heroes, he fought in Vietnam. He always taught me the same thing pretty much. You can’t do anything really by yourself if you want to succeed at it,” he said.
Gilbert’s vision extends beyond the gridiron, the baseball diamond, and is firmly locked onto the future.
He has a clear set of goals going forward, and is adamant he will not be one who squanders a chance at higher education.
“I want to go to college. I don’t want to go to college and party, and you know screw around. I want to go to college, and get a degree in Marine Biology, and hopefully be a biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife,” he said.
He has narrowed his list of colleges down to two. He will either attend USC-Beaufort or The Citadel.
As his future inspiration to work for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife might indicate, he loves the outdoors. The only thing that consumes more of his time than football might be the outdoors.
“We go to Mississippi every year and duck hunt. I remember it was my very first time going duck hunting in Mississippi, and it was like 7 degrees, and the wind was blowing, it was raining. I was freezing cold, and we were going around picking up the decoys, and I fell in the water,” he said, recalling one of his fondest hunting memories.
The senior, a Georgia Bulldogs fan, described himself as someone who is hardworking, determined and dependable.
The quality he seemed most proud of was his desire to help people, particularly people who have a harder time helping themselves.
“During the playoffs when all the junior varsity players come up to varsity, they don’t really know how we do things, and I like to be able to help them, more than just scold them for not knowing what they’re doing,” he said.
As his high school days dwindle to an end, he recognizes that he is going to miss “his family on that football field” and that the family feeling goes far beyond the field.
“Not only are we a family on the football field, but we’re a family off the football field. We’re always there for each other no matter what. No matter what one of us needs, there’s 10 more there to help us, and I’m going to miss that,” he said.
Timothy Wooten is a mass communications major at Winthrop University. He is from Winnsboro.