Athletes from Dove Creek and Mancos have been named to A-8 Southwest Football League all-conference teams following the 2016 season.
Dove Creek junior Tristen Martinez and freshman Cade Curtis each received nominations after the Bulldogs finished the year with a 1-5 league record.
Martinez was named first team all-conference and Curtis was selected to the second team.
“Tristen was one of our captains, and he’s just a junior so he’ll be back,” said Dove Creek head coach Shane Baughman. “He brought a little bit of that experience to our team and just his work ethic was contagious. I think that leadership helped the team a bunch.”
“Cade, just his grit, I guess would be the word to use with him,” he continued. “He’s just a gritty kid. He’s not the biggest kid but he never complains and is just a tough kid. And he’s just a freshman, so hopefully good things to come.”
The Mancos Blue Jays fared better in league play this season, finishing with a 4-2 conference record and making their second consecutive playoff appearance.
And their success didn’t go unnoticed, as seven players received league honors.
Seniors Axel Bonde and Richard Martinez, junior Kaleb Hargraves and sophomore Casey Orange were all named first team all-conference, juniors Cameron Fury and Nic Huver were selected to the second team, and freshman Breccen Morelli received honorable mention.
“We had a pretty good team this year,” said Mancos co-head coach Josh Gardner. “You know, a little bit of a disappointment in the playoffs, but when it came down to it we had some kids who were some really hard workers and really stepped up this year.”
Only two of Mancos’ seven all-conference selections will graduate this year, so Gardner and co-head coach Adam Priestley can expect to return a talented group next season.
And while Gardner said that accolades can distract some players, he expects they will only motivate his players even more.
“Some athletes it can get to your head,” he explained. “But these guys love playing football and this is just going to be more inspiration for them to try and attain that goal again. So, I think it definitely does motivate these guys to come back and work even harder.”