Geo Fabian plays hard for his team.
And this year, he was playing hard for another reason.
Fabian is a senior cornerback and wide receiver on the Northeast High School football team, and every time he takes the field, he’s doing so in honor of the newest member of his family, his 2-month-old daughter, Genava.
“She looks a lot like her mom, (Fabian’s girlfriend, Imani Velazquez), she’s beautiful,” said Fabian, who lives in Mayfair. “Being a parent isn’t easy, my mom wasn’t lying, it’s a lot of sleepless nights, I’m trying to adjust. But I’m going to be the best dad I can to my little girl. And Imani is a great mom.
“My mom is a huge inspiration to me. She had me when she was young and she worked so hard to make it work. I’m trying to do the same. I want to be a great dad like my mom was a great mom to me. I love being a dad.”
Genava might be a little young to be a football fan, but if she was, she would have been very proud of daddy.
Playing in his final high school football game, Fabian caught a pass for 40 yards, and returned an interception 40 yards for a touchdown to help the Vikings run roughshod over Central 62-22 in the annual Thanksgiving Day game.
It served as the perfect ending to a tough year for Northeast, which missed a few games due to coronavirus complications by opponents and another game due to tornadoes that rolled through the area at the start of the season.
Northeast did win the Public League Class 6A championship, but fell to St. Joe’s Prep in the District 12 championship game. That contest was 5 days before Thanksgiving, so the win over Central was the perfect way to top off the year.
“It meant a lot, especially the way we went out against Prep, we wanted to feel alive again, especially for all our seniors,” Fabian said. “Going out with a win against Central, we needed that. It was a big game because a lot of fans, students and alumni came out to the game. They came out to support us, so it was important for us to win it for them.”
It was extra special for Fabian because it was his first Northeast-Central holiday game.
Fabian attended Neumann-Goretti until he was a sophomore, and transferred to Northeast prior to his junior year. But last year the Public League didn’t play in the fall due to the pandemic, and played a shortened season during the spring.
The schools renewed the rivalry this year for the 122nd battle on the holiday.
“Beating Central is huge because it’s the game everyone wants to win, the school really cares about it,” Fabian said. “We had a great year considering all the adversity we had, not playing games early in the year.
“This year meant a lot because we won the Public League championship. That meant a lot to us. Things didn’t go our way against St. Joe’s Prep, but we had a great year. We got to go out with a W in front of our fans, that’s all we could ask for.”
Fabian doesn’t have a lot of time to rest.
In fact, he’s already started basketball workouts. He’s going to play small forward for the Vikings. After basketball season, he’ll go to track, where he runs the 400-meter and the 800-meter races.
Mix playing three sports with school, raising his little girl and working at a shoe store, and Fabian certainly stays busy, but he’s not complaining. He just wants to stay safe and be the best father he can be.
“Philadelphia can be tough, man, I’m just trying to stay busy, keep myself occupied and do good things,” said Fabian, who lived in North Philadelphia before moving to Mayfair. “The more I stay busy, I know I’ll be better.”
Though a three-sport star, Fabian knows his future is on the football field. Next year he hopes to go to college to study psychology, the same thing his mother is in the process of doing. Following in mom’s footsteps has always served him well, so he’s going to keep doing what works.
“My mom is my inspiration, she is a great parent, she’s a hard worker, and she’s always there for us,” Fabian said. “She was at the game. You can hear her, she’s supportive. I didn’t hear her until I got to the sidelines (after his touchdown), but she was there.”
Fabian is going to follow that lead for his little girl, too.
No matter where the future takes him, all roads will always lead back to Genava.
“She has a great mom and I’m trying to be a great dad,” Fabian said. “My mom, she took on a lot of things at a young age, having me, so you know, seeing my mom’s hustle, it drives me to hustle as hard as she does.
“I told Imani, I’m going to be the kind of dad who does anything. She wants me to dress up or be goofy, I’ll do it. I’m going to make sure (Genava) is always happy.”