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High School Hero: Timberland High's Matt Gabel

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ST. STEPHEN, S.C. (WCIV) -- At Timberland High School, one young man finds himself in a position he never thought he'd be in, but it's this same position in life that puts a smile on his face every day.

Meet Timberland's quarterback, Matt Gabel.

As much as he would have liked to be the all-time leading quarterback for his school, Gabel was benched last year. But a year later, he regained the position and led his team to the state semi-finals.

"It just says that people I've been around my whole life taught me not everything in life is going to go exactly how you want it," he said.

Gabel applies that statement to every level of his life. His Timberland team had planned to make it to Columbia, but were ousted last week. Now Gabel goes from being a leader on his team to a leader in his family as he raises his 2-year-old son.

"It's pretty tough to balance between sports, school, and Rhett, which is the name of my son. After I go to college for sports or just to get an education, I know it will all be worth it in the end," Gabel said.

His coach is proud of the maturity and commitment Gabel has shown.

"I'm kind of one of those guys, if a young kid is at least going to own up to what happened and take responsibility for things -- we're not at liberty to judge kids when they take responsibility for stuff," said head coach Art Craig. "The fact that he does that, he plays football, he plays baseball, he is a decent student. For him, I think it says a lot about him and his mother."

Gabel's mom helps her son balance the burden of being a high school father.

"I do a lot myself, but my mom still helps financially because I am still in school and I also play two sports. She helps a lot. Coach Craig has helped a good bit," Gabel said.

"Family and friends, that is what I'm thankful for. They are most important. God has for you what he has already planned, so just go with it and things will fall how they are supposed to."

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