Football in College …and Maybe a Bit Beyond
Eagle Valley seniors looking to master their sport, then pass on the knowledge.
Kylan Kottenstette, Maurice Mitchell and Sean Matheson played their last high school game in November, but football is anything but over for these Eagle Valley seniors.
After stellar high school careers, the trio looks to continue to play in college. And after college?
Well, they want to pass on their knowledge to the next generation of student athletes by teaching and coaching.
And much like all three guys used their foresight on the field, they’ve applied it to their college choices.
Kottenstette took both football and his studies into consideration when choosing Hastings College in Nebraska. “They have a great academic program,” Kottenstette said. “I’m sure I can eventually play there.”
Hastings apparently felt the same way about Kottenstette’s playing ability and his dedication in the classroom, as the school awarded him an athletic scholarship of $4,000 and an academic scholarship of $4,500.
“It’ll be great for him,” said Eagle Valley football coach John Ramunno. “He’s so competitive (in the field) and he also took his studies seriously. He really pushed himself academically and didn’t take easy classes.”
Matheson and Mitchell will be attending Mesa State college, and will have Ramunno as a coach. This time, however, it will be John’s brother Joe.
“They have similar personalities,” said Matheson, who is excited to get back on the field as soon as he can. “I’ve been training really hard now because I want to compete.” And Matheson is just as excited to get into teaching. “I’ve always wanted to be (a teacher),” Matheson said. “And I want to coach football.” Mitchell knows that it will take hard work to play a sport and focus on school in college, but he’s up to the challenge.
“You can’t play football without the school grades. If you really want to play football, you’ll take care (of school). It’s something I can do,” Mitchell said. “It’s definitely going to be a big change, and (college) will take extra attention. That’s why they offer classes for just freshman to balance things out.”
Influence Ramunno has nothing but praise for all three kids, and his players feel just the same about him.
“I think Mr. Ramunno is one of the coolest guys I’ve ever known,” Mitchell said. “I really look up to him.”
So it shouldn’t come a surprise that Mitchell’s desire to go into coaching directly relates to his high school coach.
“He’s just the kind of guy I want to be,” Mitchell said.
Kottenstette has looked up to Ramunno, and has had another figure who has taken a similar path.
“My dad is a physical education teacher, so (going into teaching) seemed like a good path to take,” Kottenstette said.
Another reason the players have taken an interest in teaching and coaching is from when they did a little of their own during a camp in which they helped out some younger players.
“It was so cool because they looked up to me,” Matheson said. “That’s one of the main reasons (I want to teach) ” the camp. I like to teach kids.”
And just to complete the cycle, Kottenstette has had plenty of interaction with Ramunno’s kids.
“My boys have really enjoyed him when we’ve had him over, and also at the camp,” Ramunno said.
There really hasn’t been an off-season for the three players. After the football season, Kottenstette had to drop weight for wrestling, where he then took fifth at state in the 152 class.
“I’ve put on about 35 pounds since wrestling,” Kottenstette said. “I’ve been working out a lot. It’s hard. I went from being not full at all (during wrestling), and now I’m overstuffed.”
Mitchell, who has been training with his father since football season, is having a bit more trouble gaining weight.
“I gained some weight. I’m trying to get to 200, but I’ve only gained 10 pounds,” Mitchell said. “I’m not the kind of guy who can gain weight easily.”
In addition to Matheson’s time on the track, which would be longer if he weren’t so fast, he’s been spending hours in the weight room.
“I have a weightlifting class and I’m lifting every day,” Matheson said. “Track has helped me a lot with my speed.”
And Ramunno is still encouraging his players to do their best as graduation approaches and they get ready to become freshman again.
“He’s still on me,” Mitchell said with a laugh.
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