VISTA PEAK BISON
Coach: Pat Rock, 2nd season
Last year: 3-7 overall, 2-3 in 3A Metro East League (missed 3A state playoffs)
Players to watch: Isaiah Young, 6-foot-3, 200 pounds, WR/S, jr.; Ayo Sanusi, 5-9, 185, RB/DB, sr.; Noah Butler, QB/DB, jr.; DJ Ortiz, 6-3, 180, WR/DE, sr.; Adam Puehler, 6-0, 165, DB/Athlete, sr.; Tim Klem, 5-10, 170, OL/LB, sr.
2013 Outlook: The first class of seniors comes through Vista PEAK this season and many of them are in coach Pat Rock’s core of talented athletes, which has expanded slightly from last season, when the Bison had to play nearly everybody on both sides of the football. It took it’s toll toward the end of the season on the small roster, but Rock hopes that will be less of the case this season with 81 athletes out for football in all. Another year has provided more maturity and helped the players in the program add strength as well, something they’ll need to stand up to the smashmouth style they found last season in the 3A Metro East League. Among the senior class that is looking to leave on a positive note is senior Ayo Sanusi, a versatile athlete who is also a state qualifier in track and field and starts on the Vista PEAK basketball team in the winter. Sanusi ran the 40-yard dash in 4.4 seconds over the summer and has the type of speed in the open field that can test defenses. Last season’s starting quarterback, Adam Puehler, is another senior who will see plenty of snaps in different spots on the field, under center, split out wide and anywhere else he’s needed. WR/DE DJ Ortiz (623 yards, 5 TDs receiving) and OL/LB Tim Klem — who earned all-league accolades last season — provide further experience from the senior class. Among Vista PEAK’s impactful juniors are more multi-sport athletes in Isaiah Young and Noah Butler, who each play basketball and run track. Butler takes over as the team’s primary quarterback after winning a close competition with Puehler in the offseason, with his ability to create with his legs making him an asset for the Bison. He’s also shown the ability to set a high tempo for the offense when the situation calls for it. At 6-foot-3, 200 pounds, Young is dangerous when he catches the ball in space and he’s also a potential gamebreaker in the return game, as well as an effective safety. He led the team in all purpose yards with 719 and scored four touchdowns. Rock believes he has enough depth this season to rotate many of his two-way players to give them some breaks during games, which he believes will pay off down the line. The Bison hope to play .500 or better football on the non-league portion of their schedule and carry that momentum into league play with hopes of earning their first postseason berth.
Quoting the coach: “We’re looking to compete in more of the games than we did last year. We had a lot of running clock last year (due to a mercy rule), so we’re just looking to make sure we keep in it for a full game. We good stretches late in the season, but we never really had a complete game. We’re looking to make sure our younger kids understand that we want to put together a full game.”
2013 schedule: Home games in all caps (played at Vista PEAK unless otherwise noted): Friday, Aug. 23 — at Hinkley, 6 p.m.; Friday, Aug. 30 — AURORA CENTRAL at APS Stadium, 7 p.m.; Friday, Sept. 6 — at Faith Christian, 7 p.m.; Saturday, Sept. 14 — CONIFER, 1 p.m.; Saturday, Sept. 21 — CLASSICAL ACADEMY, 1 p.m.; Friday, Oct. 4 — at Elizabeth, 7 p.m.; Saturday, Oct. 12 — WELD CENTRAL, 1 p.m.; Saturday, Oct. 19 — at Skyview, noon; Friday, Oct. 25 — at Englewood, 7 p.m.