Gridders get honors


Doug Radunich

Tate Stinson, far right, attempts to run past two Kaycee Buckaroos, while Kyle Bartlett, far left, rushes in. Stinson received both All-State and All-Conference honors, and the Casper Star-Tribune Super 25 Honorable Mention. Bartlett received the Casper-Star Tribune Super 25 Honorable Mention as well.

Although Saratoga High School's football team didn't qualify for the playoffs this year, four of the Panthers were able to receive All-State, All-Conference or Honorable Mention recognition for their 2013 season efforts.

The football honorees were announced in November, and from those, senior running-back Tate Stinson was the proud Panther to make All-State for the All-Class 1A 6-man team. For the 2013 season, Stinson rushed 882 yards, made 31 tackles and 43 assists and had a total of 21 touchdowns.

For other honorees, sophomore center Rodrigo Escobedo, sophomore quarterback and linebacker Thatcher Spiering and Stinson all received All-Conference awards. Junior center Kyle Bartlett and Stinson both received the Casper Star-Tribune Super 25 Honorable Mention.

Stinson said he believed his work ethic is what got him noticed for All-State honors.

"This summer Ryan (Malone) and I put in a lot of time in during the off season, and we worked out twice a day," he said. "We pushed each other, and definitely having my best buddy on the field with me pushed me harder. Ryan not playing much also pushed me, and having certain people in my life, like my pops, just pushed me. It helped having certain people when the going got to where we needed it."

Not thinking he could reach an All-State level, Stinson said he was surprised to receive the prestigious award amidst the large competition.

"I didn't think I'd get it because there are a ton of good kids in this state," Stinson said. "There are just outstanding football kids and I didn't think I was up there competing well enough with all of them. It's one of those things where we needed to put in enough work, and I thought I worked hard enough. I wanted to succeed and was excited that I got it."

Stinson also thanked his team for helping contribute to his recognition toward All-State.

"I think the way I worked to help the team out and the way the team worked helped out," he said. "We all really 'wanted it' for each game. Next year I'd like to play college ball somewhere, but if not I'll go on and do whatever I'm supposed to do. I'm still figuring that out."

Escobedo, who as a freshman received two All-State honors for track in 2013, said he was surprised to make All-Conference for his footwork out of the field. He ended the season with 46 yards rushed, 11 tackles and 35 assists, 117 kickoff return yards achieved, 2,199 kickoff yards reached, 29 PAT kicks made, four field goals made and a total of one touchdown.

"I had never gotten something this awesome for football, so I was pretty proud and happy about it," Escobedo said. "The main reason I got it was because of special teams, so my kicking was the main reason I got all-conference. Next year I'm shooting for all-state. We finished out decent this year so I wouldn't mind finishing out like that next year, but playoffs would be nice."

Spiering was another All-Conference candidate who received a 2013 All-State honor as a freshman, though his was given for wrestling during the 2012-13 season. Throughout this year's football season he had 17 tackles and 33 assists, and scored 10 kickoff return yards.

"I think I got it because I did well on my defense playing, and I was always sportsmanlike," Spiering said. "I had never played quarterback before, and I think I did an OK job at that. I'd just like to perform better and keep improving, and hopefully make it far as we can. I'd like to make it farther and farther every year."

Like Stinson, Bartlett was another major point scorer for the team, achieving a total of 16 touchdowns by the end of the season. He also rushed 576 yards, made 30 tackles and 47 assists, scored 11 punt return yards and managed 19 kickoff return yards.

In what will be his last year of high school, Bartlett said he hoped the team could make it to the 2014 playoffs next year.

"I'd just like to get back to the playoffs again because next year I'll be a senior, so it will be my last shot," he said. "I think it's pretty awesome I got honorable mention, and I think I played pretty well all the way around. I think it's a pretty cool deal because it's not just something from our conference, it's from statewide football."

Assistant coach Josh Sandlian said he admired the 2013 season play from all four athletes.

"Everybody contributed, but these guys stepped up game after game and led the team," he said. "I think they were really deserving of those awards. I think Ryan (Malone) could have been in there too, but he was hurt for much of the season."

Doug Radunich

Rodrigo Escobedo kicks off after a Panther score in the first quarter of their game against Hulett. Escobedo made All-Conference for 2013.


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