A lot of guys play on both sides of the ball.
Few play the positions that Jordan Gombs does.
Gombs is a senior on the Abraham Lincoln High School football team, and when the Railsplitters get the ball, he lines up wide and is one of the weapons that make the Railsplitters such a dangerous team, offensively. His speed and great hands make him a valuable wide receiver.
So you’d probably think when the Railsplitters are on defense, he’d play cornerback or perhaps safety. He has the speed to play both, but that’s not where you’ll find him.
He’ll be going up against the offensive tackles at defensive end.
“I don’t know why I play those positions, but it works well, I love both of them,” Gombs said. “I like defense the best because getting to the quarterback, man, that’s my favorite part of the game.
“I like receiver, too, but defense, I think it’s my best position. I’m pretty fast so I try to use my speed to get past (the tackle). I’m pretty fast. They’re usually a lot bigger, but I’m pretty strong. I use my speed, though, that’s what helps me get to the quarterback.”
Thanks to Gombs and the rest of the defense, the Railsplitters are having a memorable season and beating just about everyone in their path.
Lincoln has won all but one game, and is winning close games, blowouts and beating everyone in its path. The Railsplitters beat Frankford for the first time since 1979, ran roughshod over Washington 40-0 and head into the playoffs having won six straight since losing the week school started to Roxborough 6-0.
Lincoln ended the season with a 54-0 victory over KIPP Dubois. The Railsplitters will play Southern in the first round of the playoffs on Friday. Earlier in the season, Lincoln downed Southern 34-0 on opening day.
“This is definitely the best season we’ve ever had,” Gombs said. “I think it’s a lot of things. We have everything going well right now. We started working hard after last year and we’re getting better every week. And when we win, it gives us confidence. We’re winning games people say we can’t win. I think that’s helping us work even harder.”
Gombs is proud to represent Lincoln, even though it’s not the school he attends.
He goes to New Foundations Charter, but since the school doesn’t have a football team, he’s able to play for Lincoln since it’s the school closest to his Mayfair home.
He plays point guard for the New Foundations basketball team, and plays center field and shortstop in baseball. Football gives him a chance to represent his neighborhood, and lets him play with all of the guys he’s known his entire life.
“I love it because I’ve known most of these guys forever,” Gombs said. “I love this team, but I love New Foundations, too. It’s a great school and I love playing for them (in baseball and basketball). It gives me a chance to play with the people I go to school with, but also gives me a chance to play with the guys I grew up with. It’s the best of both.”
Gombs is good at all three sports, but he’s hoping this season is his most memorable one of his high school career.
Lincoln seems to have what’s needed for a deep run.
Prior to three years ago, the Railsplitters hadn’t won a playoff game since 1989. They won a game three years ago and did it again last year.
This year, under new coach Hakeem Cooper, Lincoln will head into the Class 6A playoffs in good position. One playoff game wouldn’t be good enough for this year, which tells you how far this team has come.
“I think we’re going to do really well,” Gombs said. “We already are. Our coaches really help us a lot. They played here, a lot of them, and they really want to win. They want us to win, and they help us a lot.
“This year has been a lot of fun, but we want to do better than we did last year. Last year we won a playoff game and that was great, but we want bigger things this year. We want this season to keep going on.”
Next year, Gombs hopes to continue his football career at the college level where he’d like to study sports psychology. He would be willing to play anywhere, but if he has his way, he’ll play with his hand in the dirt.
“I like defensive line, so I would like to play there,” said Gombs, who would also consider playing basketball or baseball. “I like playing all the sports. Defensive line is one of my favorites to play. I just like hitting people, using my speed and getting to the quarterback.”
Something he’s happy he did as a member of the Railsplitters.
“I’m really happy I’m playing here because the whole neighborhood gets excited about Lincoln football,” Gombs said. “I love playing for Lincoln because I love being around these guys. I’m looking forward to basketball, but I want to play football as long as I can.”