Whether it’s school or sports, Gage Palus augments his natural skills with a heavy dose of hard work.
A straight-A student at Ovid-Elsie High School in Michigan, the freshman also excelled on the football field this past season. Elevated to the Marauders’ Junior Varsity team, Palus started at quarterback and sparked his team to a 6-3 record.
The 6-foot, 190-pounder passed for over 900 yards and 16 touchdowns while being intercepted just 3 times. Palus also rushed for 200 yards and added 4 TDs on the ground.
“Getting moved up to the JV team, it was kind of a surprise at first,” he said. “I was pretty happy with the season. I didn’t think I was going to do that good, but I just put the work in and played the best I could.”
In two games for the Ovid-Elise JV team, Palus passed for over 200 yards and 3 touchdowns. “The first game of the season, it was a little bit intense,” he said. “It was probably the best team we played all season. It was my first game with the JV and it probably wasn’t the best game I ever played, but I just tried to improve and build off that game. I think I was able to do that.”
Palus also started on defense at strong safety and was always on the field for the Marauders. Now, he’s playing freshman basketball, but Palus continues preparing for his sophomore football season with the Ovid-Elsie varsity.
With basketball practice and games taking up his time in the afternoon and evening, Palus wakes up at 5 a.m. and is at school a half hour later. “I work out for an hour before classes start,” he said. “I put a lot of work in because I want to make my parents proud of me and I want to get better so I can perform better on the field.”
Palus has also been training with NFA for the past six years. “NFA has helped me work on my form to get it as perfect as possible,” he said. “I think my throwing mechanics are pretty good. I can release the ball faster and hit my targets. They changed a lot of my mechanics, and NFA helped me with my form. They also helped me with my footwork and helped me read defenses.”
Last summer, Palus attended his first Duel and finished in fourth place among incoming freshmen. He was in second place at NFA’s showcase event in Ohio heading into the final Gauntlet.
“It was my first Duel, and I thought it was pretty intense at the start,” Palus said. “But after a while, I relaxed and realized I could compete with the other kids that were there. I was pretty happy finishing fourth. I was in second going into the last Gauntlet, so I was kind of kind of mad when I didn’t do as well as I wanted. I thought I could have done better, but overall I was happy.”
With his work ethic and natural ability, Palus is going to keep getting better with age. And if everything falls into place, he could very well take the next step up and play quarterback for the Marauders’ varsity football team next season.
“The varsity head coach said he’s going to give me a shot,” Palus said. “If I can’t play quarterback for the varsity, maybe I can play defense or find another spot on offense for the year.”
Ideally, he’ll be at QB, the position Palus has played since third grade. “I really like playing quarterback,” he said. “You get to lead the team on offense and that’s something I like to do.”