Written By: Chris Murphy | 11:30 pm, Jun. 1, 2014
Gage McQuade (left) and his father Chad McQuade both play for the Fargo Invaders semi-pro football team. David Samson / The Forum
Fargo – Chad McQuade, 39, never thought what he did was a big deal. He was never, as he put it, a “party guy” in his high school years at Fargo South, so becoming a family man just seemed natural when his son, Gage, was born the summer before his senior year of high school.
The two loves of McQuade’s life at the time were football and the livestock business. With Gage, the newborn love of his life, Chad – with offers to play football at Bemidji State, Mayville State and Moorhead State, now Minnesota State Moorhead – had to pick between his former two.
“Football doesn’t pay the bills,” Chad said. “It really changed my life, but, at the same time, I was always a family guy. You look back and you wonder, ‘Geez, how in the world did I do that?’ It didn’t seem like that big of a deal at the time. Just something I had to do.”
The reason Chad hung up the cleats is now on the team for which he laces up his cleats. Both he and Gage play for the Fargo Invaders – a semi-pro team in the Midwest Premier Football League – and Chad couldn’t be happier.
“We had played in 7-on-7 leagues, but never full football,” Chad said. “I thought this would be the last time to have an opportunity to play with my son. It’s an honor to be out there with him. It’s a unique opportunity not a lot of people get.”
Chad had been playing football since he was in fourth grade, but he traded in the pads for a farm in Barnesville, Minn., at 18 years old to help support Gage.
“I just had to give up one love for the other I guess,” Chad said. “It was hard. I always loved to play.”
Looking at Chad – the starting center and captain for the 3-0 Invaders – and Gage – a backup defensive back, who plays special teams – one would never think the two were related. Both are roughly the same height at 5-foot-11, but Chad is built like a house with nearly 100 more pounds on him than Gage.
Gage, a West Fargo High School graduate who turns 22 in July, is fully aware of the size differential as seen in the one time at practice when Chad’s blocking assignment found him coming at Gage.
“He tried blocking me once, but I’m too quick,” Gage said.
The relation is impossible to ignore as soon as the two speak. They both speak a mile a minute, but the manner in which they do it is a reflection of their game.
Chad talks in a calming manner, just as he goes about his business on the field. Gage is nearly as loud as the hits he delivers on special teams and at free safety.
“Gage is a little bit more emotional about stuff and Chad is pretty mellow,” Invaders offensive coordinator Brent Lundgren said. “Chad is a good, hard-working player and Gage will hit you. That’s why we love him on special teams.”
The love of football is with both McQuades.
“My dad was my coach in fourth grade and I remember thinking football was the greatest sport in the world, which it is,” Gage said. “I remember my first tackle and I still play that same way. This is all good for my dad because he deserves this and he really cares for his team.”
Just like he cares about his son.
“He missed out on that whole opportunity to play in college,” Lundgren said. “He came into my office one day to talk about playing and playing with his son, and he had tears in his eyes.”