Gatlinburg-Pittman football player raising Highlanders to new heights

Senior Collin Garza is WATE 6 On Your Side's Fox Toyota Player of the Week

Gatlinburg-Pittman Senior Collin Garza


Gatlinburg (WATE) – Tucked away in the Smoky Mountains, Gatlinburg-Pittman Senior Collin Garza is doing it all for the Highlanders.

“I’m on the field for every play, except when we’re kicking field goals,” said Garza.

“He plays offense, defense, special teams, very rarely ever comes off the field,” added his head coach Derek Rang.

Last week, the runningback and linebacker’s all-around effort helped Gatlinburg-Pittman to their first win of 2017. Garza racked up 106 yards rushing and a touchdown on offense, and defensively chipped in with 13 tackles, and the game-sealing interception return for a 56 yard score.

“It was a great experience,” Garza said. “Felt great to be able to seal the deal at the end of the game.”

Rang says he is a “coaches dream.” He says if he had an entire team of players like Garza he would win a lot of championships.

Football’s the only tune Garza’s playing these days. In the offseason though, it’s a whole different melody. From the playbook to piano, the Highlanders star is self-taught.

“I’ve always loved the way the piano sounded. One day I went out there on an old piano that we had and started pressing the keys to see what sounds are made. I eventually started learning what chords sounded good together and taught myself how to play it.”

“It’s pretty cool, cause he can go from a physical sport like football and then turn around and do it just as good if not better on the piano,” Morris adds.

Whatever he’s playing, Garza’s doing it for the love of a program and community he’s played for since he was five years old.

“It means the world to me. The community, all the people, all the fans that come out and support us. It’s astounding. Football’s big in this community. People love to come out and watch us, and that means a lot and gives us something to play for.”

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