|Paloma Valley coach Bert Esposito addresses the crowd as David Solis (left) and Chris Kocay prepare to sign letters of intent.|
Running back David Solis, who rushed for 1,838 yards and finished with almost 2,500 total yards in offense, signed a letter with New Mexico Highlands. Chris Kocay, one of the team's top linemen, signed with Moorhead State University of Minnesota.
"These are two guys we knew two years ago would be signing with colleges," said football coach Bert Esposito, who led the team to a 9-4 record last fall. "I'm excited for both of them. These are kids who had talent, worked hard, and are being rewarded."
Esposito said Solis and quarterback Brent Boehm finished 1-2 in the CIF rankings for total yardage. He doesn't believe Solis earned the scholarship on numbers alone, however.
Athletic director Michael Pfeiffer introduced Solis and Kocay to a crowd of students and parents gathered in the school's theater. Esposito later took the microphone and stressed to students in the audience the importance of following their classmates' example.
"This is like a burden lifted off my shoulder," said Solis about the recruiting process and the waiting period for signing day. "It's a great experience, though. During the season, I was just focused on what I had to do for our team. Now it's official."
Solis said he began to hear from college recruiters several weeks ago, after recruiters took notice of the team's march to the CIF semifinals. Paloma Valley went 5-0 to start the season, led by a high-powered offense anchored by standouts such as Solis and Kocay.
"Our team got a lot of attention, and I think that helped quite a bit," Solis said. By the time we made it to the third round, the calls started coming."
Kocay said he considered several schools and passed on bigger colleges to attend Moorhead State, where he hopes to get lots of playing time early.
"They are in need of offensive linemen," said Kocay, who is a two-time Sunbelt League heavyweight champion in wrestling. "I know it will be a struggle to get playing time, but I really feel that's a place I can go in and be a part of the program."
"Chris is a technician," Esposito said. "He's very smart and he's a good athlete, too. You could see during wrestling season that he's very technical. He can handle any kind of system on the field and succeed."