Until Friday night, Sahuaro High School sophomore lineman Rick Botkin played for the Cougars’ junior varsity.
Then, Sahuaro coach Scott McKee told Botkin he would be playing in the varsity game against Yuma Kofa. He would also be one of four game captains for the night.
It was a special and emotional debut for Botkin, whose uncle, the late Ric Botkin, was Sahuaro’s quarterback in 1977, one of the top signal-callers in the state. Tragically, the elder Botkin was killed in the middle of the ’77 season in a car accident.
On Friday night, the Cougars honored the memory of their former QB, No. 25, by putting his name across the 25-yard lines. Not only that, Sahuaro running back Qwaundre Yancy, gave young Rick Botkin his No. 25 jersey for the night. Botkin had been wearing No. 62.
Adding to the whole experience, Sahuaro defeated Yuma Kofa 55-0, and Botkin helped make six tackles while playing on the line and special teams.
If that’s not what high school football is all about, what is? McKee has my vote as Coach of the Year.