Central quarterback Shane Collard has spent three years counting on running back Anthony Gaynor, and has come to know and love Gaynor's effective slasher-style game.
Collard always will vouch for Gaynor's reliability, and looks to him when things get a little out of sorts during a play. The two remember each other as timid, fledgling sophomores and now stick together as dauntless, self-assured seniors.
Yet Collard must admit that his long-established bond with Gaynor doesn't extend much farther than the field. Honestly, Collard couldn't tell you much about Gaynor as a person.
"He's pretty quiet," Collard said. "I think he's a shy type. I mean, he'll say, "Hi,' in the hallways and stuff. I saw him today and he said, "Hi.' "
Even linebacker Daniel Harris, who supposedly knows Gaynor pretty well, couldn't give much of a biography on the guy. "He keeps to himself a lot," Harris said. "He's not real rowdy unless it's game night. He's not a real open guy."
This makes it all the more thrilling when, given the right setting and moment, Gaynor has his occasional outburst of personality.
The rare, dry joke in the locker room, the angry scream on the sideline, the silly little "X-factor" dance he does to celebrate a Bears big play. When Gaynor makes some noise, it's bound to get a reaction from the rest of the team. "Like at the Springstead game, I had to yell at them," Gaynor said. "I'll make them mad to get them ready to play."
When words don't work, though, Gaynor always can fall back on his actions. Last week against Crystal River, Gaynor had his biggest game so far, gaining 118 yards on 10 carries and catching two passes for 35 yards. He also scored the winning touchdown. Gaynor, who has 174 rushing yards and has scored two touchdowns in three games, learned a lot from watching his older brother, Tim, who led the county with more than 3,100 yards rushing in the 2002 and '03 seasons. What Anthony never picked up, however, was Tim's notorious motor-mouth.
It's not that Gaynor doesn't have anything to say. He's just selective about when he says things and who he says things to. He leads a simple life outside of football ("I just chill with my homeboys"), although there are some interesting things about him that few people know. For example, he belongs to a hard-core rap group called "One Time," and he has five brothers and three sisters. (If you think Gaynor is quiet, you should meet his 16-year-old brother, Kenny.)
Another little-known fact about Gaynor: Sometimes when he's is quiet, he's simply "thinking about a lot of things." And if he's quiet next time he scores, it's safe to say that's one of those moments.
His good friend's grandmother recently passed away, and it hit Gaynor pretty hard.
"He said I'm all he's got now," Gaynor said. "So I told him that from now on, every touchdown I score is for her."