Chris Gabor grew up as a running back. His football idol was Walter Payton.
But he couldn't resist when offered the opportunity to play quarterback for the Upper Township Indians junior football team just before his eighth-grade season. Coaches switched him after they saw he could run and throw.
"I embraced the switch," he said. "They said, 'Do you want to try and play quarterback?' I said, 'Sure, why not?' "
Now an Ocean City High School sophomore, Gabor starts at quarterback for the Red Raiders.
"I like it," he said. "I like being a leader and being in on all the plays."
The Red Raiders (1-3) earned their first win Monday, 35-6 over Middle Township.
The 6-foot, 160-pound Gabor leads the Cape-Atlantic League with five touchdown passes this season. He has completed 29-of-68 passes for 381 yards. Gabor also ran for one touchdown.
Ocean City hosts Millville (3-0), ranked No. 9 in The Press Elite 11, at 7 p.m. today. In a telephone interview Wednesday night, Gabor, an Upper Township resident, spoke about a number of topics.
On Ocean City's first win: It felt great. We became a lot closer as a team after that win. I've been working and the team has been working hard all year to get to this spot. Hopefully, there will be a lot more wins in our careers.
On the bad weather Ocean City has endured, with each of its last two games starting Friday but being suspended due to lightning until Monday: It's been pretty tough. We're definitely working around it. We have less practices during the week (because games were played Monday). You're so pumped to play Friday and finish the game. Then you have to wait the whole weekend to get back on the field.
On his improvement at quarterback: Once I got switched, I practiced throwing and throwing with my dad (Rich) and my older brother (also named Rich, a 2008 Ocean City graduate).
On attending Ocean City football games: I used to go to (my brother's) games and I kept thinking, 'Hopefully someday I'll be out there playing.'
On starting as a sophomore: I was pretty nervous at the start, going in there against the big boys as a sophomore. Our seniors and juniors have really stepped up. They've really helped me.
On a tough upcoming schedule that includes Millville, Hammonton, Oakcrest and Holy Spirit in consecutive weeks: They were all playoff teams last year. We have to play hard.
On playing football at 160 pounds: It's pretty good. I do get some bumps and bruises. That's football. That's life. That's why I love the sport. You get dinged up, but it's fun to play.
As told to Michael McGarry