ROCK SPRINGS – From playing in the neighborhood streets and backyards to fields around the nation, the YAFL Rock Springs All-Star football team had another memorable season. Not only did they wrap up another undefeated season in Wyoming, this year the young ballers took their show on the road.
It’s been three years since the YAFL Rock Springs All-Star football team has lost a game in Wyoming. After running through another regular season, the young players hit War Memorial chasing another state championship.
The fifth and sixth-grade players, Gregory Gallegos, Brycen Coombs, Hunter Jenkins, Dylan Van Kam, Saben Carlsen, Tyson Northon, Dayton Ortega, Andre Graves, Hudson Garner, Matt Foster, Michael Foster, Aiden Walker, Travis Williams, Brodie Richmond, Michael Faigl, Ryker Elkins, Brett Camphouse, Dalton Thomas, Max Mikesell, Sage Romero, Wyatt Carribou, Chris Benboe, Maggie Smith, Hayden Tranquilino, Carter McBurnett, Cody Cunningham and Dominic Saavedra, made their way to Laramie for the Snowy Range Showdown. The tournament pits the best teams in the state against each other.
While many hit the field for the first time, others battled their one-year ago. Whether new or old, the excitement of playing at War Memorial never leaves. Carter McBurnett said he just watched Wyoming play San Diego State on tv and it was crazy that he lined up on the same field.
Others like Brett Camphouse, Dalton Thomas and Max Mikesell said while watching the Cowboys play, they recalled plays they made on certain parts of the field.
Rock Springs stormed through the Gillette Gladiators, 20-0, on Saturday morning and followed it with another win in the final game against Laramie, 32-0. Not only did they finish undefeated for another year, they shut out both opponents.
Thomas said his favorite moment was a scoring a touchdown against Gillette while Camphouse said it was fun having a great offensive line blocking for him, McBurnett said playing defense and getting a big sack in the Laramie game was his favorite memory in Laramie this year.
For Miskesell, Hudson Garner and Ryker Elkins the memories they take from Laramie were not focused on a certain play or playing against a certain team. Elkins said riding the mechanical bull they had at the stadium was one of his favorite moments. He said they had a lot of other activities for players.
Miskesell said when they started they all had different color jerseys on and even came from different places. He said playing and a team and feeling part of a family is what he will remember about Laramie. Garner said just being part of the all-stars and playing with the team will be what he takes from the experience.
With another Wyoming run in the book, the team decided to change things up and head for the bright lights of Las Vegas. While not all the regular all-stars were able to make it, the team was able to fill in those spots.
At the National Youth Conference Championships 17 the games were played at 17 schools with six to eight games being played a day. The Rock Springs squad hit the field twice playing the Montana All-Stars and a team from El Paso, Texas.
Thomas said it best. “They were some huge kids.”
The players may have been nervous but once the game started, it was back to normal. Again, the players spoke endlessly of the fun and the experiences playing against some of the nation’s best. Although they lost both games, the lessons they learned in Vegas will be priceless as they make the jump to junior high next year. Some of those players wanted to share these lessons with the younger players who will fill their spots on the all-star team next season.
Thomas said strive to be the best on the team. He said it is good to be nervous because it shows you care. McBurnett stressed to the younger players to play all the time and give 110 percent every time you step on the field. Garner stressed to always work hard because there are teams and players that are better.
All the players said the same thing thing in the end and it was something they said all year, “one team, one fight.”