SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) — Evangel defensive end Gabe Reliford is one of the most recruited defensive linemen in high school football.

The senior has had a dominant performance this season. He’s a big reason for the success of the Eagles’ defense this year.

“We’ve won 14 state championships here,” said Evangel head coach Denny Duron. “All 14 of them have been built on defense.”

Once again Evangel has a stout defense. They’re giving up 16 points per game and the leader on that side of the ball is Reliford.

“I’ve been more vocal,” explained Reliford. “However, I’m just going to do the work and follow after. I’ll talk here and there, but I only talk when I feel like I’m in the position to talk.”

Reliford racked up four sacks in the Eagles first round playoff victory over Belaire. He credits his success to the extra work he puts in.

“Just practicing things that happen in the game,” said the senior. “Like the sack I had over here when I shuffled down and chased him down. I practiced that after school.”

Reliford says the players on the team have a close-knit relationship. That is what makes the Eagles a tough out in the playoffs and head coach Denny Duron agrees.

“It’s hard to beat a good football team,” Coach Duron said. “But it’s even harder to beat a good family and these guys are family. They love each other.”

Reliford is now eligible for the Marketplace Chevy Athlete of the Year Award, which comes with a $2,500 scholarship. The Athlete of the Year Banquet will take place in May 2024.