After facing the Blaine Borderites’ aggressive ground-and-pound offense, there is one name all opposing teams remember: Mario Gobbato. Arguably the face of the Borderites offensive squad, Gobbato rushed for a spectacular 2,669 yards this season. For reference, that is just nine yards shy of the all-time state 2A class season rushing record, set by Ferndale’s Matthias Wilson in 1997.
Whenever questioned about his impressive yardage, Gobbato selflessly diverts all the attention to his coach and teammates. Now that the Blaine High School junior is in between football and basketball seasons, The Northern Light caught up with him to learn more about what makes him tick, both on and off the field.
The Northern Light (TNL):
How did you feel about the way the season ended? Was the rushing record on your mind?
Mario Gobbato (MG):
I was disappointed with the way our season ended. Obviously we felt like we could have gone farther. [The rushing record] was just one of those things in the background. It would have been cool to get for some of our senior offensive linemen, but you know, it’s not that big of a deal. We have another year, and we will see if we can go farther next year.
What was your favorite moment of the season?
I’d have to say my favorite moment was when we beat Sehome – getting back at them for ending our season the year before and getting back to the playoffs in a meaningful game in November. That was big for us.
What have you been up to since the season ended?
Well, basketball started this week. I play point guard. Monday was the first practice, and it went pretty good. We are all just getting back into it.
What do you enjoy in your spare time?
You know, I just finished restoring my car with my dad. It’s a ’70 Plymouth Duster. I do that a lot in my free time, besides hanging out with friends and messing around. About three years ago, I bought this car from my dad’s friend. I’ve been working on it since then, and he has helped me and taught me everything I know about them. The more we did it, the more I became interested in learning about cars. I put a lot of money into it and it’s nice to see it finally finished. It’s something that I would definitely recommend doing and doing again, because you learn a lot. The process really makes you appreciate it, because you put so much money and time into it that you don’t want to see it go to waste.
Have you thought about what you would like to do after high school?
I’m still undecided. I kind of thought about going to a tech school and looking into the diesel mechanics program. I go
back and forth on that. I try to keep up on my schoolwork just to keep all the doors open, because I might change my mind on what I want to do, and I don’t want to shut any doors before I have the opportunity to pursue something I might want to do later.
Finally, do you have anything to say about next season?
MG: I’m really excited for next year. We have a couple returning linemen with James Fakkema and Palmer Sandel coming back. We also have a couple other younger guys who should step up, so it should be fun. We’ll fill the spots on the offensive line and we’ll have a good offensive line, just like this year. But we are also going to look to get our passing game more involved, especially with [QB Nathan Kramme] getting older. It will be even better next year.
Above, right: Borderites running back Mario Gobbato, number 44, had a spectacular season, ending wih 2,669 yards of offense – just nine yards shy of setting a new state record for the season. Photo by Janell Kortlever.