Donovan Rooks ran his way to success in his senior year. The Yuma Catholic wide receiver helped the Shamrock football team to an undefeated season and second-straight state title. He committed to the University of Montana, and capped off his track season with a second-place finish and personal-record in the 400-meter at the state championships last week.
“Senior year was amazing,” Rooks said. “I’m thankful to the (Yuma Catholic) family for taking me in and making me who I am today.”
Rooks, along with Boise State commit Matt Pistone, received attention from schools that often overlook Yuma. Rooks hopes the success of the Yuma Catholic program this past year will start a snowball effect and start a long line of Division I athletes.
“I just hope the future classes can see it is possible if you have the right mindset and the right work ethic,” Rooks said. “We kind of put Yuma on the map. Hopefully more scouts will come out to Yuma and check out the talent that we have.”
Rooks knows he is not only now representing the University of Montana, but he is also an ambassador for the entire city.
“(I’m excited) to represent the city of Yuma. I get to represent my school, represent myself and show off my God-given talents.”
This year had plenty of ups but it’s fair share of downs as well. Early in the football season, head coach Rhett Stallworth underwent open-heart surgery. The senior leaders visited him while he was in recovery and promised an undefeated season. After some uncertainty, Stallworth returned to the team two weeks later, and like it was written in a movie script, the Shamrocks delivered on their promise to their coach.
There was adversity, yes. But there was also growth.
“This year was by far the toughest year I’ve been through. We fought through a lot of adversity. Just like everyone knows with our football team., our coaches were a great example of that (growth).”
That growth brought Rooks a state championship on the gridiron and personal-best on the track.
Who knows where that growth will take him at the next level.