Joey Gass has been playing football since he was 12 years old. He started playing in the Pioneer Football League, which Gass said was a league designed specifically for children whose school didn’t have a football team. It was also for kids who are homeschooled.
Gass transferred to Southlake Christian Academy in Huntsville, NC for his senior year of high school. Following his high school graduation in 2012, he went to try out for the new football team at the UNC Charlotte, but didn’t earn a spot with the team.
Two years later, while visiting then girlfriend [now fiancée] Lauren Blakey at Emory & Henry College in Emory, VA, Gass attended a football game the school was hosting.
He was very intrigued by what he had seen. “As soon as I watched them play, I knew I could definitely help that team with my skills,” he told Inside the Arena.
Gass transferred to the college to be with Blakey, who was on the swim team, and was a walk-on to the Wasps football team. He graduated from the college and last played for the Wasps in Fall 2017. He doubled majored in Business Management (B.A) and Economics (B.S.)
Following graduation, he began working in the marketing department for a company known as WamBam Fence. While scrolling through Facebook one February day, he noticed that the Carolina Energy of the American Arena League were hosting an open tryout. Gass attended the tryout and was invited to team camp in March.
Running back Josh Doster had gotten off to an impressive start for Carolina, but an injury has sidelined him . It was now Gass’ time to shine. He did just that this past Saturday.
Against the Carolina Cowboys, Gass rushed for an American Arena League record nine touchdowns. The Energy also set a league record with 96 points in their 96-13 win over the Cowboys.
“This was my first start for the Energy and I wanted to make a statement. The offensive line was incredible, racking up pancake after pancake like they were at a breakfast buffet,” Gass said. “All I had to do was make some linebackers miss and read the blocks by the receivers and the touchdowns just kept coming.
“Coaches decided after my [fourth touchdown] in the first quarter that we were going to try to set a record,” he continued. “So they kept giving me the rock and we kept scoring all game long. The only reason I was able to perform the way I did is because of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He is the reason I play so hard because in the Bible, 1 Corinthians 10:31 it says, ‘Whatever you do in word or deed, do it all for God’s glory.” So that’s what I did, set the record and I did it all for God’s glory!’”
Before the game, however, Gass was three hours from the Bojangles Coliseum, getting his two degrees he had earned from Emory and Henry College. Following obtaining his two diplomas, he made it to the arena just before warm-ups began.
He also told Inside the Arena Saturday was his 24th birthday. “I really wanted to have a great time on my birthday,” he said.
Gass added he would love to get an opportunity in the NFL, but is enjoying his time in Charlotte. “This opportunity to play with the Carolina Energy is a platform I love because of the stage to contribute on the game field. The results speak for themselves,” he said.
He also left a firm warning for the rest of the AAL. “Watch out for the Carolina Energy. We may be a first year team, but we have a lot of talented players at every position on offense and defense.“
Carolina will face possibly their toughest challenge this season when they travel to take on the undefeated Atlanta Havoc in Buford, GA this Saturday night.
Main Photo Credit: Phil Polito