Many high school programs want “football players.” While that is true for the Casteel Colts, they first and foremost want athletes.
Casteel, which started its football program two years ago, has embraced the multi-sport athlete campus-wide.
“Players playing multiple sports really allows them to get a better sense of the culture of the school,” Casteel head football coach Spencer Stowers said.
”It allows our coaches, to be quite honest, to have more fun with our players at times because we see new kids when other kids are gone. So it’s been a mission of our principal and our athletic director of the school since day one to be a multi-sport school.”
Wide receive Zach Nelson, who plays football, runs track and is the goalie on the soccer team, said track’s conditioning helps him stay in shape. The quick reactions he is forced to have as a goalie helps him make adjustments when a pass comes his way.
“A lot of athletes in college were multi-sport athletes,” Nelson said. “(The administration) kind of want to see us grow a little bit in all sports and not just restrict it to one.”
Quarterback Gunner Cruz, who holds offers from ASU, NAU and South Dakota State, played football, basketball and track his sophomore year.
“Basketball helps me with my lateral movement, my jumping ability. It’s made me a better athlete all-around,” Cruz said. “Just from one year of track, I’ve seen myself get so much faster.”
— Coach Stowers (@CasteelFootball) July 13, 2017
Casteel is in a unique scenario because the first class to graduate will be the class of 2020, meaning the program’s oldest players are juniors. Having a roster full of players who have seen the field, in multiple sports, as underclassmen has helped them develop as athletes.
In the case of Casen Simonton, who plays defensive back for the football team, as well as soccer and volleyball, he has seen both do wonders for him.
“(Soccer) really helps with my footwork so that translates to over into football at corner making cuts and breaks on the ball,” Simonton said.
“Volleyball has just really helped with vertical, being out there jumping all the time. It makes it easier out here for me going up a bigger receiver to be able to go up and contest for the ball.”
Having talented, battle-tested players participating in multiple varsity sports makes the Colts an even more intriguing team to make a run deep in the playoffs in 2017.
Casteel opens their season on August 18th against Globe.