By KEVIN SAULS
Bret Harte High School senior James Gayle is the kind of football player who speaks with actions more than words.
"He's real quiet," Bret Harte coach Gordon Sadler said. "If you don't talk to him, you won't hear him."
Gayle, who plays fullback and defensive end for the Bullfrogs, has his reasons.
"I just be quiet so I can understand what's going on so I don't look like an idiot when I'm playing especially on defense."
Gayle has looked pretty smart so far for the Bullfrogs, rushing for 314 yards on 39 carries an average 104.7 yards per game and 8.1 per attempt and three touchdowns in three games.
The Union Democrat's Athlete of the Week ran for 104 yards and Bret Harte's first two touchdowns covering 20 and 54 yards as the Bullfrogs routed host Waterford 48-0 to snap a nine-game losing streak that dated back to last season.
Gayle was typically understated about his performance.
"They didn't have much of a defense," he said.
Perhaps not, but Gayle ran with his usual authority.
"He's a slasher," Sadler said. "He's a hard runner. He goes inside, outside, everywhere. When he has to take (tacklers) on, he's not afraid to do that."
A 6-feet tall and 175 pounds, Gayle isn't as big as most fullbacks, and his role isn't of the block-block-block kind assigned to the position in many offenses.
"I always thought of a fullback as more of a blocker, but not here," he said.
Not that he doesn't take his lumps anyway.
"I run mostly inside and I get beat up a lot," Gayle said.
Whatever his job on offense, he likes it better than playing defense.
"I'm more of an offensive player. I guess I'm just more aggressive on offense."
Gayle has been Bret Harte's leading rusher the last two years, and he's trying to lead the Bullfrogs toward their modest goal of winning more games than they did last year (three). One down, three to go.