Do the hair-dew: GCMS football has stylish look

Do the hair-dew: GCMS football has stylish look

GIBSON CITY — It's been impossible to stop Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley football's flow. And that's not just a reference to the team's run at a Class 2A state title.

Take a closer look at the Falcons' offensive linemen and you'll see a common theme: long hair.

Impressively long hair. Think former NFLer Troy Polamalu or current star Clay Matthews. Or think as GCMS coach Mike Allen does.

"People say it's ..." senior Owen Roy starts to explain.

"Joe Dirt," Allen finishes, referencing actor David Spade's 2001 mullet-wearing movie character.

Regardless of comparisons, six Falcons are putting their follicles to work, just as GCMS (13-0) prepares for Friday's state championship game against Maroa-Forsyth (12-1) at 1 p.m. in DeKalb.

It's not only the program's first state championship game appearance, though, that's inspired players to avoid their local barber. For senior Alex Rosenbaum, the idea's origin dates back a couple seasons.

"Our sophomore year, the senior class started getting crazy hair," he said. "One of them had an Afro. So I started to grow my hair out sophomore year, and I haven't cut it since."

It was only a matter of time, Rosenbaum said, until he began to find other Falcons who wanted to extend not only their time on the field, but also their hairdos.

"I thought, you always see the college players and the college teams, and the big guys have long hair and they look really cool," senior Luke Freehill said. "So I thought if we could get a big group, it would look really sweet."

In addition to Rosenbaum, Freehill and Roy, seniors Ryan Shambrook and Connor Wahls are counted among the "long hair, don't care" crowd at offensive line. Breaking the mold is junior Andrew Laughery, a wide receiver and defensive back who's also in on the fun.

"It's kind of cool we have our own identity, specifically with the line," Shambrook said. "Everybody has long hair, so it's kind of cool. We've got unity."

While Allen might jab at his more hairy athletes, he certainly doesn't take issue with the players' creativity.

"It's a laid-back group, it's a fun group," he said. "They don't take things too serious. They work their butts off and have fun doing it, and you couldn't ask more than that."

It's hard to say definitively whose hair is longest among the six players, but all five linemen have their shoulders easily covered by locks that drape across the top of their chests.

Laughery's style is a bit shorter, but has an extra season to expand.

"I'm going to keep the hair going next year, maybe get some people to join in with me," he said. "I can get it to some of that length. I haven't cut it since last February."

"It's been that long?" Wahls retorted.

"It doesn't grow quick," Laughery admitted with a laugh.

Despite that barb, it's not Laughery, who receives the most flak for his hairstyle decisions.

"I get most of the crap," Roy said. "Every day, people tell me to cut it. They don't like it. But I like it, so I'm going to keep it for a while."

That's something Allen said he looks forward to witnessing, even after Friday's game wraps up GCMS' season.

"I hope a few of them maybe decide to keep their hair," Allen said. "It's going to be tough to see them go."

These trendsetting Falcons appreciate their coach's support beyond simply allowing them to do something different. Rosenbaum said he understands exactly why Allen is cool with a concept some coaches might reject.

"It makes you play a lot better instead of (having) strict rules," Rosenbaum said. "We just have our own thing. We go out there and have fun, play our game."

But there is one way GCMS' athletes could take things too far.

"As long as there's no man buns," Freehill said with a laugh.

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