Following the 2016 season, the Dolores Bears football team had five players selected to Southern Peaks League all-conference teams.
Sophomore Forest Pejsa and senior Tristan Medina were each named first team all-conference, junior Justin Purkat was selected to the second team, and junior Logan Fuller and sophomore Hezekiah Stinson were honorable mentions.
Pejsa started for the Bears at middle linebacker, offensive line, kicker and punter, but defense was his strongest suit. After pulling down 119 total tackles in his freshman season to make the all-conference second team, Pejsa improved in his second season to record 165 total tackles to set a new school record and earn a spot on the first team.
“This year our goal for him was instead of making a tackle after the guy’s made a two-yard gain, lets hit him at the line of scrimmage instead,” said DHS head coach Chris Trusler. “And he doubled his solo tackles.”
Medina, a wide receiver and defensive back, joined Pejsa on the SPL first team.
Medina led the league in receiving with 594 yards and six touchdowns, and he also added two rushing scores. He played a significant part on defense, too, often tasked with covering opponents’ lead receivers.
“He was the total package for us this year,” said Trusler. “When we faced opponents that had a strong primary target that they threw to, we always made sure we had Tristan over there. And most times, he would totally shut that guy down.”
Purkat, who was named to the SPL second team and was one of Medina’s partners in the defensive backfield, finished with a league-high six interceptions on the year. And on the other side of the ball, he anchored the Bears offense as a mobile quarterback.
“He was a great dual threat, mobile quarterback,” Trusler said. “He threw for 1,208 yards and 10 touchdowns on the year. And then he was second on the team with 515 rushing yards and had seven rushing touchdowns.”
Fuller and Stinson were all-conference honorable mention to round out the Bears’ nominations.
Fuller finished his junior season with 51 tackles from his linebacker position. And offensively, he helped Dolores move the ball on the ground and through the air.
“He carried the ball for 138 yards and then had 26 receptions for 253 yards,” said Trusler. “Then as a linebacker, he had 51 tackles with eight tackles for loss.”
And after playing sparingly in his freshman season, Stinson made the leap in his sophomore campaign and contributed on both the offensive and defensive line.
“Last year he didn’t see the field much, but he really improved a lot,” said Trusler. “He led the league with 6 ½ sacks, he had two fumble recoveries that he returned for defensive touchdowns on the year and he had 12 tackles for loss.”