Editor's note: This story is featured in the Daily Citizen-News' weekly high school football Touchdown! section. Grab an issue in papers on Fridays during football season, or stop by our office for a copy.

CHATSWORTH -- Murray County High School's Gauge Stanley has bounced around, but now he's fit to be an Indian.

Stanley is well-known amongst his peers in the area after spending seventh and eighth grade at Valley Point Middle School in Dalton and the first half of his freshman year at Southeast Whitfield.

While the senior linebacker knew most everyone at Murray County from time spent with them in elementary school, there was one thing he had never done with them -- play football.

"We've grown up together, but I had never played with them," Stanley said. "It was always against them. It's been fun to come together with them.

"Everywhere I go it's kind of like 'Hey Gauge, hey Gauge.' I like it though. It's pretty much like everyone knows me."

Through four games, Stanley is second on the team in total tackles with 39 -- just behind Carson Voiles who has 41. However, Stanley hasn't stop there. He also has a pair of sacks, a forced fumble, a blocked field goal and a reception on a two-point conversion.

On top of that, he's averaging nearly 36 yards a punt for the Indians as the only player in that position.

This year's success -- as the Indians are now 3-1 after going winless last season -- is something Stanley said he is very much enjoying.

"Coming to Murray, (head coach Chad) Brewer made me realize I really wanted to commit to football," he said. "I just worked out constantly and got a lot stronger.

"We've come together as a team, too. That was one of our big goals and we've done that."

There is one downside, however, to Stanley's accomplishments since moving to Murray County. It's caused him to have to suit up against his former teammates.

Just a few weeks ago, Murray County defeated Southeast, 28-14.

"Playing them now just makes me want to beat them even more," Stanley said. "They have always kind of talked crap, even during the game so I kind of did that back to them. But then after the game I was like 'I love you bro -- good game.'"

The Indians are on the road tonight as they travel to Sonoraville for another region game. Brewer said despite wins and losses, there's far more to be proud of in Stanley's ability to become a great leader for his team.

"We're having a great season, and our win loss record is great," he said. "But we have a lot of other wins going on in our program that people will never find out about. I'm very proud of those things, and he's definitely one of them."

Now set to graduate from Murray County in the spring, Stanley wants people to know he's going to keep fighting until the very end.

"I love the game of football, and this is my fire," he said. "I play hard every snap and I just want people to know I'm a great player for my team."

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