Tue Nov 22nd, 2016
Special to the Drum
Tags: Bobcat Football, Cesar Corona; Sophomores – Lucas Roderick, CHSAA Academic All-State, Colten Smithson, Dalton LaBarthe, Dalton Mickey; Juniors – Natoni Cundiff, Dustin Sanchez, Ethan Appenzeller, Lorenzo Pena, Lucas Monroe, Marcus Chapman, Mark Kempinski, McCaw, Mike Archuleta, Steve Thyfault, Stocker Robbins, Timmy Plehinger-Williams, Zach Weinreich
Winners, winners, and…yep…chicken dinners.
That could have summed up Bobcat Football’s catered end-of-season awards banquet Thursday, Nov. 17, well enough. Or quickly enough.
“There’s a football game on right now,” keynote speaker Steve Thyfault quipped to that effect, during a heartfelt address to a team most deserving of one last admiring look from family and friends for helping put the program back on a forward track in 2016.
And with all that was needed – or wanted – to be said by the Ignacio coaches and the special guest, who began by showing a group of players seated in the IHS Performing Arts Center’s front row a picture of current head coach Alfonso Garcia in seventh grade, the 2.5-hour-long event was as much about reflection as commemoration.
“We did so well,” said Garcia, of Ignacio’s 3-6 overall mark – up from 0-9 in ’15 and 1-8 in ’14. “Last year we got our butts kicked. This year the kids competed … gave themselves the opportunity to be successful.”
“We started the season with 43, we finished with 28. I wish we could have finished with 43 – we’re going to make different plans for next year!”
“Football…if it was easy, you’d have 100 kids out,” said Thyfault, a coach in football and other sports in the Durango area for nearly four decades. “It’s a tough sport. You take advantage of your opportunities!”
“Do as much as you possibly can,” he continued, during a part of his talk focusing on the seniors. “Football will mold you. You’ll be prepared to go ‘out there’ because you played the great game of football. You’ll be prepared to go out there and be successful.”
First on the itinerary was a thank-you from Garcia and assistant coach/co-presenter Bill Gwinn to ‘team mothers’ Stephanie Witt (mother of manager Quincy Witt) and Kellie McCaw (mother of junior WR/DB Cole McCaw), preceding Thyfault’s speech.
“Guys, appreciate your parents and what they do for you,” he said. “Don’t be afraid to tell them thanks – they’re a part of your ‘football family!’”
He also included a quote from three-sport collegiate athlete, later World War II General of the Army Douglas MacArthur – also appreciating how closely the banquet followed Veterans Day weekend – to that effect:
Sports is a vital character builder. It molds the youth of our country for their roles as custodians of the republic. It teaches them to be strong enough to know they are weak and brave enough to face themselves when they are afraid … It gives them a predominance of courage, over timidity, of appetite for adventure over loss of ease. Fathers and mothers who would make their sons into men should have them participate in sports.
After then stressing the importance of character, courageousness, commitment, competitiveness and common sense – his ‘Five Cs’ – Thyfault closed his speech with a quote from legendary NFL head coach Vince Lombardi, as it appeared on a small football replica given to him by his father, which he then passed on to Garcia:
‘The harder you work, the harder it is to surrender.’
Twelve Bobcats, with Garcia stating a memory of each, then received their first athletic letter in the sport:
Freshmen – Colten Jackson, Cesar Pedregon, Grayson Gosney, Ocean Hunter, Clay Campbell, Keegan Schurman, Ian Weinreich; Sophomores – Clay Seibel; Juniors – Daniel Weaver, Pablo Garcia, Trace Lovelace; Seniors – R.J. Sanchez.
Earning another letter upon last year’s work were: Seniors – Zach Weinreich, Lucas Monroe, Dalton Labarthe, Colten Smithson, Ethan Appenzeller, Timmy Plehinger-Williams, Lorenzo Pena, Stocker Robbins, Mark Kempinski, Dalton Mickey; Juniors – Natoni Cundiff, Marcus Chapman, McCaw, Cesar Corona; Sophomores – Lucas Roderick, Mike Archuleta, Dustin Sanchez.
CHSAA Academic All-State honors were announced next, with Zach Weinreich, Cundiff and McCaw all posting grade-point averages around 4.0 to receive First Team status, and Chapman, Monroe and Smithson named Honorable Mention with GPA’s between 3.3 and 3.59.
Voted Most Coachable Player this season, Cundiff received Honorable Mention All-Southern Peaks Conference. Labarthe received Second Team status, and Most Improved Player Plehinger-Williams joined the elder Weinreich – voted Team MVP – as First Team All-SPC selections.
Recognized in absentia with a special All-Position Player award was Robbins, whose cameo at quarterback late in the season-finale versus Center earned him the distinction of having played every offensive position during his four-year IHS career. Also receiving letters were managers Witt, Heile Pearson and Tori Archuleta.