Photo by Gerald Castillo
Features: All in the Family: Gabe Urrutia continues family's Rattler legacy
Daily Record Sports
Paul Urrutia cherishes the moments he donned the Rattler uniform under the lights of Texas State’s Bobcat Stadium.
Urrutia wore San Marcos purple, sported No. 52 and started at nose guard in 1985, long before San Marcos Toyota Rattler Stadium was constructed. At 5-foot-8, 152 pounds he looked far different than today’s defensive linemen, but he made the most of his playing time.
“We ran a 5-2 defense and I was the starting nose guard, so (I enjoyed) just being able to play,” Urrutia said. “I kind of started (playing) late … I didn’t start until the fifth grade playing football. I always loved the sport. I had fun doing it. I wasn’t the biggest guy but I did what I had to, to get on the field.”
Urrutia, 49, now sits in the stands, watches and cheers as his son Gabe plays for San Marcos. Gabe, a junior defensive lineman also sporting No. 52 for the Rattlers, isn’t Paul’s only son to go through the program, nor will he be the last. Josh Urrutia played for San Marcos and graduated in 2015, Gabe’s younger brothers Chris and Noah will eventually follow in the family footsteps.
“I never thought I’d have four boys go through the program,” Paul Urrutia said.
The Urrutia’s aren’t the only San Marcos family to make it a tradition to go through the same athletic program as their parents. Rattler defensive coordinator Gilbert Rodriguez said the coaching staff enjoys having kids with parents who have played for the team.
“It’s a great thing for us coaches who have not been here forever because we get to hear stories and we get to see them work just like their relatives or dad worked when they were here,” Rodriguez said.
Paul believes the community takes pride in having their sons wear the same football uniforms they once did.
“I think it means a lot,” Paul Urrutia said. “Even though there’s not a lot for San Marcos to offer. We still found a way to provide for our kids. That’s why a lot of people leave … It’s understandable. But you still have a lot of people that stay or move here.”
Gabe says having relatives play for San Marcos creates a bond for the current players.
“We’re a little bit tighter because our parents played here,” Gabe Urrutia said.
Through San Marcos’ five games this season, Gabe Urrutia has recorded 14 total tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and two sacks. “I think I’ve played decent,” he said. “I’ve played better before but I’m doing pretty good though.”
But his dad has a more favorable opinion on his son’s performance. “He’s doing well,” Urrutia said. “He had a really good sophomore year on the (junior varsity) and he did really, really well. Last year they moved him up the last game when they played Lockhart and he played most of that game. He ended up playing through the playoffs, he was almost in the rotation more because they had a couple of injuries. He had a lot of experience from that.”
Rodriguez claims that Gabe’s family bond helps him on the field.
“That’s one of the main reasons that Gabe is such a technician,” Rodriguez said. “He’s such a hard worker. He does things right and he’ll always do it the same way you asked him to do it.”
Gabe is enthralled by the University of Oregon football team’s uniforms – the constantly changing variety of green, yellow and black Nike jerseys – so much so, that he’d like to go to school in Eugene, Oregon. He has aspirations of playing football for the Ducks. Although Gabe hasn’t been recruited by Oregon yet, Paul encourages him to fulfill his dream.
“You go where you want to go,” Paul Urrutia tells his son. “It’s just a plane ride away. It’s just like anything else. If you let people decide what you’re going to do then you’re never going to do the things you want to do.”
But Urrutia is focused on helping the team make the playoffs with five regular season games remaining in his junior year. He’s hoping to live up to his family’s football standard.
“There’s pressure because my older brother (Josh) used to go here,” Gabe Urrutia said. “(My dad and brother) laid the foundation for me and I’ve got to fill those shoes.”