Tattooed in black ink across Gabe Guilds right forearm are the words the only constant is change.
By TOD PALMER
The Kansas City Star
His older brother, Gordon, has a similar tattoo with the Guild family motto on his back.
Its something we live by in my family, Gabe Guild said. Things are going to happen, but all you can control is your effort. Its about striving to keep going.
Guild is a senior running back at Shawnee Mission South. He topped 100 yards in all nine games last season and led the Sunflower League in rushing with 1,641 yards and 12 touchdowns on 199 carries in the regular season.
It wasnt good enough not for Guild, whose aim is to help second-year coach Ryan Lonergan forever change the Raiders football culture.
Since I started my sophomore year, Ive wanted to see South turn around and to be part of that, Guild said. I wanted to lead the way if I could. Weve made some good steps, but its nothing if we dont make the playoffs and dont have a winning record going in there.
Guild again leads the Sunflower League in rushing 203 carries for 1,449 yards and 12 touchdowns despite being limited to three carries in last weeks season-salvaging 21-19 win against Blue Valley North.
He had sprained an ankle a week earlier in the district opener at BV Northwest and still finished with 235 yards in that game, but Guild would gladly trade his 9.4-yard per carry average to flip the 28-21 final in the Raiders favor.
Id trade every yard Ive ever had for a spot in the playoffs, said Guild, who has offers from Holy Cross and South Dakota State and interest from a dozen more schools. Its cool having the stats and things like that, but these guys on the team and being in the playoffs mean more to me than anything.
Guilds last crack at a playoff spot arrives at 7 p.m. on Friday against Olathe East at the College Boulevard Activity Center, where SM South almost certainly needs to win by 13 points to keep its season alive.
Its a tough challenge, but one Guild and SM South wont shy away from either.
He had some personal goals coming into the season, but more importantly we had some program goals, Lonergan said. Shawnee Mission South hasnt had a winning season in 15 years. If we win, we have a winning season and give ourselves a chance to make the playoffs.
Guild understands that its hard work messy, back-breaking work to build a foundation, but that first step has to include a belief in what is possible.
Im confident we can beat Olathe East, but I come into every game thinking we can win, Guild said. A lot of our guys do. Weve hung in with everybody this year, and I think we can hang in with Olathe East, too. Thats something that has changed since I was a sophomore.
Guilds remarkable career might end Friday, before most people even realize it started, but his impact could reverberate for years at SM South.
Sometimes I feel like Im overlooked, that people dont consider me to be an elite back, but I kind of like it that way, Guild said. Its always motivated me. I have a chip on my shoulder, but thats something I thrive off of.
Nobody wearing green and yellow doubts Guild.
His value has been immeasurable, Lonergan said. His ability gets everybody else to step their level up, because the whole team knows that any time he touches the ball he can score. Hes a leader through how hard he plays and how hard he works in the weight room. Just his presence gives the whole team confidence.
With a win on Friday, perhaps it can also give SM South a measure of credibility.
To reach Tod Palmer, call 816-234-4389 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at twitter.com/todpalmer.