FAIRFIELD — If there had been a musical background to the letter of intent signing ceremony at Vanden High, Wednesday, “Rocky Mountain High” would’ve been the theme.
Dion Williams, Jordan Garcia and Tyler Koss are all moving on – the first two to play football, the latter to run track – at schools in the Rocky Mountains.
Williams, the Solano County Athletic Conference’s Most Valuable Offensive Player, is headed to Montana Tech in Butte, Montana.
Garcia, the SCAC’s co-Lineman of the Year, is bound for Colorado Mesa, in Grand Junction, Colo.
Koss, a first-team all-SCAC linebacker and the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II/Division III champion in the 400-meter dash last spring, is going to run track at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo.
“This is a great day in our football program,” Vanden football coach LeVon Haynes said in a signing ceremony in the school’s Little Theater, “to have three of our athletes move on to the next level, the next phase in their lives.”
Haynes pointed out the three did more than just excel in athletes to earn their scholarships.
“They did the things they needed to do, especially in the classroom,” the coach said. “That’s the key to getting an athletic scholarship. If you’re not a scholar, you don’t get the ‘ship.’ . . . If you don’t have the grades, they pass you by, no matter how good you think you are.”
Williams, who drew late interest from Arizona Christian, made visits to Wayne (Neb.) State and Minnesota-Crookston, as well as to Montana Tech, finding the latter an easy choice.
“I guess when I went out there it felt like it would be a nice home for me,” Williams said.
Williams broke nearly all Vanden and several city receiving records last fall and is looking forward to helping Montana Tech.
The Orediggers went 3-7 in 2013, with three of the losses by a touchdown or less, averaging 261.4 passing yards per game.
“They pass the ball a lot,” Williams said. “They’re going to pass more now that I’m coming. I’m looking forward to that.”
Garcia drew interest from Humboldt State, Puget Sound and Cal Lutheran, but made his only recruiting visit to Colorado Mesa.
“The weather was nice, the facilities were beautiful, they have good student support for the football team,” Garcia said. “I could see myself there the next four or five years.”
The Mavericks were 5-6 last fall, dropping their last four games. They struggled against the pass, giving up 23 touchdowns and an average of 255.5 yards per game through the air.
Garcia might be able to help, having led Vanden with nine sacks in 2013.
While his teammates had decisions to make, going with the Air Force was the only choice for Koss, whose father and grandfather both graduated from the academy.
“I come from an Air Force family,” said Koss, who was second on Vanden with 135 tackles and had seven sacks and three quarterback hurries. “I love the (atmosphere), I love the camaraderie of the Air Force. And I want to serve my country.”
Koss won the SJS D-II/D-III 400 in a sizzling 49.18 seconds, finishing 11th in the SJS Masters trials, barely failing to make the finals.
“It’s a great day for these kids,” Haynes said. “It’s an honor, something you can’t take for granted. When you have kids doing the job in the classroom and excelling on the football field, they use football or track to further their education.”
Reach Paul Farmer at 425-4646, ext. 264, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pfarmerdr.