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Darrin Gentry of Midland University returns the second-half kickoff 91 yards against Mayville State on Sept. 1 at Heedum Field. Gentry's return set up a touchdown for the Warriors.The Oakland, California, native leads the Great Plains Athletic Conference with an average of 31.3 yards per return. 

You won’t find Darrin Gentry of Midland University talking a lot about what he has accomplished on the football field for the Warriors.

That simply isn’t the style for the junior from Oakland, California.

“Darrin is just a great young man,” Midland coach Jeff Jamrog said. “He doesn’t say much at all. He is a quiet kid, but he goes out there and competes. He has made a huge impact for our football team.”

While Gentry is quiet, his statistics speak volumes. He is tied with Jordan Jackson for the team lead in touchdown receptions with seven each. He leads the Warriors in receiving yards with 591 and is second to Mike Seawell in receptions with 31.

As a kickoff returner, Gentry leads the Great Plains Athletic Conference with an average of 31.3 yards per return.

Not bad for a player in his first season with the Warriors’ program.

“When I got here, I didn’t really have any expectations,” Gentry said. “I just wanted to come in and help the team wherever and however I could. I just wanted to be a good teammate. Once we started practicing, I knew we had high expectations. I really believe we can play with anybody.”

Offensive coordinator Ryan Williams recruited Gentry last spring, but he got an assist from Seawell. The two receivers had been friends since playing in a high school all-star game. Seawell played for MU last fall while Gentry was at Delta College in California.

“Mike kind of told me about the school and he played a big part in me coming here,” Gentry said. “I trust Mike. I know he wouldn’t lead me the wrong way.”

Without taking an official visit, Gentry arrived in Fremont in July.

“I really like it here,” the receiver said. “Everyone is friendly and nice. It is a much slower pace than back in California, but I’ve gotten used to that in the past few months.”

Gentry made an impact in his first game as a Warrior. He caught four passes for 69 yards, including a 12-yard touchdown throw from Payton Nelson, during a 49-28 win over MidAmerica Nazarene.

He added a 58-yard touchdown pass and a 91-yard kickoff return during MU’s 56-20 win the next week over Mayville State. Other highlights on the season include a three-touchdown performance against Doane on Oct. 27 and six receptions for 141 yards and a score on Oct. 13 against Hastings.

“He has deceiving speed and he has excellent hands,” Jamrog said. “When he gets the ball in his hands — as we’ve seen many times this year — he can make people miss. He is one of the best kickoff returners in our league. He has given us a big-play ability and we needed that in our offense. He has been a great addition.”

During a 42-20 loss to Briar Cliff last week, Gentry was limited to one catch for 29 yards, but he didn’t sulk about his lowest statistical production of the season. That isn’t his nature.

“They played man-to-man most of the game and that is just the way it goes,” he said. “Any week you can have different receivers catching passes. Last week it just didn’t work out for me and you move on. As long as I’m doing my job — whether it is catching passes or blocking — and if we can have success, that is all I care about.”

The Warriors, 7-3, will close out their season Saturday by hosting Dordt at 1 p.m. at Heedum Field.

“We want to send the seniors out on a high note,” Gentry said. “It would be great for our team to end the season with a victory. That is something we can build on and come back even stronger next season.”

Jamrog believes Gentry can continue to improve.

“I think the sky is the limit for him,” he said. “He’ll keep getting better and better. He has a quiet confidence in him and a lot of God-given ability. He is still learning to block and to run the routes like we want, but his threshold (for success) is still much higher for him.”

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