When thinking of areas within Arizona that are pipelines to Division-I athletic programs, the city of Yuma doesn’t come to mind. There hasn’t been a high school athlete that has played at the Division-I level in recent memory…until now.
Yuma Catholic tight end Matt Pistone verbally committed to play at Oregon State earlier this season. Pistone is one of the more sought after prospects in the state, which may be surprising when it comes to where he places geographically.
“It’s just been hard to get your names out because we’re in between Phoenix, we’re in between San Diego. It’s a trip to get to Yuma, but now that we’ve got some recognition, hopefully more people will get Division-I scholarships as well,” Pistone said.
Someone who has received a Division-I scholarship is senior Donovan Rooks, who plays receiver, defensive back, and returns on special teams. He was recently offered by Army and has heard from programs like Northern Iowa, Mississippi Valley State and Air Force.
The man who leads the Yuma Catholic program, head coach Rhett Stallworth, says this attention is great for the athletic community that is typically an afterthought when it comes to athletics.
“It helps bring a little attention to the city and our team. Any time you do that, it’s a positive thing because Yuma is not exactly known of a hotbed of football,” Stallworth said.
With Pistone and Rooks setting the tone and Stallworth at the helm, that might change.