SI Vault
Edited by Jerry Kirshenbaum
November 10, 1980
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November 10, 1980


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Ranger President William Jennings: "It was a disgraceful performance by the Flyers, the most disgraceful I've seen."

Flyer President Ed Snider: "Hockey is a violent game."

NHL Office: No comment.


Quite a few foreign-born lads have done well in U.S. football as placekickers, but Owen Gill, an 18-year-old senior at Brooklyn's Tilden High School, is different. Though he arrived in the U.S. from England barely two years ago, the 6'2", 200-pound Gill is being recruited by Penn State, North Carolina, Syracuse, Rutgers and Iowa primarily as a running back.

Gill, whose parents are Guyanese, grew up in London playing soccer and rugby, and he was puzzled by football when he moved to the U.S. with his family in 1978. "I couldn't see why, as soon as one person was stopped, everybody stopped and grouped again to call another play," he says. Nevertheless, Gill went out for Tilden's team, wound up in the backfield and last season gained 853 yards on 136 carries and scored nine touchdowns as Tilden, with a 7-3 record, made it to the finals of New York's Public School Athletic League B Division playoffs before losing to Midwood 14-0. This year he has gained 1,048 yards on 121 carries and scored nine TDs as Tilden has gone 5-0-2. During a 26-0 win over Madison High two weeks ago, Gill rushed for 314 yards, including TD runs of 57, 70 and 76 yards. And, yes, he's also Tilden's kicker. His 43-yard field goal beat Midwood 10-7 earlier this season to avenge last year's big loss, and last week he scored all but one of Tilden's points (four TDs, a 33-yard field goal, a two-point conversion run, two PATs) in a 32-0 rout of Sheepshead Bay. He's also had four touchdowns nullified this season because of penalties, including runs of 62 and 57 yards.

Gill is still learning to follow his blockers, but he has overcome his habit of putting the ball down in the end zone after touchdowns—"In rugby you have to do that to score"—and is developing into an accomplished receiver. With 4.6 speed in the 40 and sufficient athletic ability to have won the gold medal last summer in the triple jump (47'11�") in the Empire State Games, Gill is an explosive runner, of whom Tilden Assistant Coach Pete White says, "Once he's past the line, there isn't a defensive back in New York City who can catch him." Having overcome his early aversion to football, Gill is now a fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Earl Campbell and Walter Payton, and he finds the awarding of college football scholarships a quaint and not displeasing custom. With British understatement he says of the likelihood he'll get a free ride at one college football power or another, "It sounds like a good deal."

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