BEEVILLE – Gabe Carranco and Seth Gomez have been friends since elementary school.

They grew up together as friends and teammates on a multitude of football, baseball and basketball teams.

It only made sense that the duo would put pen to paper on national letters of intent together.

Carranco and Gomez signed with Howard Payne University and East Texas Baptist University, respectively, on June 20 at the Beeville Boys & Girls Club.

“It’s like family over there,” said Carranco, who fought back tears throughout his speech to the nearly 50 attendees, about his decision to sign with Howard Payne.

“ ... They just care about what kind of person you are. That kind of stuck with me. That’s why I wanted to go there.

“Everybody on campus is upbeat and nice. It’s an amazing atmosphere.

“It sounded like here.”

For Gomez, signing with East Texas Baptist was about following his heart.

“I had to choose where I thought my heart would fit in,” he said. “The coaches brought me in and communicated with me really well, making it seem like that could be my second home.

“I’m trusting the process, and I’m trusting my heart where it’s leading me. I’m ready for this next adventure.”

The best friends helped fuel perhaps the most historic season in the annals of Beeville football history, leading the Trojans to the first undefeated regular season in program history while claiming the District 15-4A Division II championship.

Carranco was an all-state selection as a defensive back for the Trojans and led the team in interceptions.

Gomez won the district’s most valuable player award as Beeville’s leading rusher and passer in the starting quarterback role.

In true best friend fashion, both of them listed similar goals for the next level.

“First off, it’s just to try to get on the field,” Carranco said. “Once I get on the field, it’s to do whatever I can to stand out and hopefully get a starting spot.

“That’s my goal, just to play and do well.”

“My goal is to compete as best as I can to get in that starting quarterback spot,” said Gomez. “That’s my main goal. I just want to work hard and try to outwork everybody.”

Carranco said he plans to study kinesiology at HPU, a private Baptist university in Brownwood.

Gomez will study sports management and kinesiology at ETBU, which is also a private Baptist university and is located in Marshall.

Both the HPU Yellow Jackets and the ETBU Tigers are members of the American Southwest Conference at the NCAA Division III level.

The best friends are slated to face each other as opponents on Oct. 24 in Brownwood.

It will be the first time they’ve faced each other as opponents since a youth basketball game, which was played in the same building where the duo signed their letters of intent together.

They will spend some years as rivals at HPU and ETBU, but they might well be teammates again after that.

They both said their plan is to become a teacher and coach.

Kevin J. Keller has been the sports editor at the Beeville Bee-Picayune since 2014. He can be reached by email at sports@mysoutex.com or by phone at 361-343-5223, or you can follow him on Twitter @beepicsports.

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