Central’s Wilcox goes from shy to leader

Central’s Thaddeus Wilcox has overcome his shyness to become one of the Warriors’ leaders. Wilcox credits his experience in student senate with helping him break out of his shell.


Hinkley AT Central

Friday, 7 p.m., Stocker Stadium


RECORDS: Hinkley 1-2; Central 0-3

LAST WEEK: Hinkley defeated Aurora Central 48-18. Central lost 31-13 to Fort Collins.

GAME NOTES: Central has trailed by less than a touchdown entering the fourth quarter in each of its three games this season. The Warriors have been outscored 28-7 in the fourth quarter in three games. The defense gave up 392 yards in offense (209 rushing) last week to Fort Collins. ... Taylor Sanchez played with a bruised ankle last week, but has practiced more this week than he did last week and is expected to play in Central’s homecoming game. ... Hinkley quarterback Dondre Smallwood has rushed for 328 yards (6.5 per carry) and four touchdowns. He rushed for 152 yards against Westminster. Hinkley is averaging 29 points a game, but is giving up an average of more than 39 points a game. ... “I think most everybody is back for them,” Central coach Vern McGee said of Hinkley. “They have a couple good kids up front and a tall receiver. They have some weapons.” ... Central defeated Hinkley 41-7 for its first victory of the season last year. Hinkley defeated Central 62-42 in the 1997 Class 4A state championship game.


Friday, 7 p.m., District 50 Stadium, Westminster

RADIO: none.

RECORDS: Grand Junction 3-0; Westminster 3-0

LAST WEEK: Grand Junction defeated Standley Lake 50-0; Westminster defeated Northglenn 24-22.

GAME NOTES: Grand Junction has been able to run the ball at will so far this season (386 yards per game), but coach Robbie Owens is looking for more improvement in the passing game, which is averaging 101 yards per game. ... “The biggest thing we need to do is make more plays. There will come a point we’ll need to pass the ball more. Last year, we were the only team in 5A to average more than 400 yards (in total offense per game). Our goal this year is to average more than 500. We need to do that by increasing our passing game.” ... Westminster is showing the ability to run the ball, averaging 378 yards per game in the wing-T offense, led by Patrick Wilson (184 ypg) and Augustine Sanchez (112 ypg). The Wolves, though, have only completed 3 of 17 passes for 35 yards with two interceptions. ... “Wilson and Sanchez are good backs. If they get loose, they’ll make plays,” Owens said. “They have a physical offense and will come at us. We need to try to get them in long yardage situations.” ... Grand Junction shut out the Wolves 47-0 last season.


Friday, 7 p.m., Nick Stubler Memorial Field


RECORDS: Palisade 3-0; Glenwood Springs 1-2

LAST WEEK: Palisade defeated Roaring Fork 42-0; Glenwood Springs lost to Fruita Monument 47-0.

GAME NOTES: Palisade senior quarterback Luke McLean completed 7 of 11 passes for 165 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Bulldogs, who rushed for 239 yards as a team last week. Palisade is averaging 335.7 rushing yards per game (1,007 in three games). ... “It’s one of those things,” Palisade offensive coordinator Matt Borgmann said. “We’re going to face teams we can’t push around. Roaring Fork did a great job shutting us down running the ball.” ... Glenwood Springs was shut out for the second consecutive week by a bigger school. The Demons were hit hard by graduation after its league championship and state finalist team last season. They start several sophomores. ... Glenwood quarterback Jon Foristall completed 13 of 29 passes for 110 yards against Fruita. Henry Hill ran for 68 yards on 18 carries. ... “Glenwood will be hungry,” Borgmann said. “They know how to win. They played two tough opponents. It’s league play and that’s what matters.” ... The Demons defeated Palisade 21-20 last year at Stocker Stadium.


Saturday, 1 p.m., Stocker Stadium

RADIO: none.

RECORDS: Regis 1-2; Fruita 1-2

LAST WEEK: Regis lost to Pomona 24-17; Fruita defeated Glenwood Springs 47-0.

GAME NOTES: Vince Grasso and Devin Dance combined to rush for 238 yards and four touchdowns in the victory over Glenwood. Dance also had a 75-yard punt return for a touchdown. The Fruita defense put plenty of pressure on Glenwood QB John Foristall, forcing several incomplete passes. Cody Daniels returned one interception for a touchdown. ... “We feel good about what we’re doing,” Fruita coach Sean Mulvey said. “We’re making progress, but we are still missing blocking assignments.”  ... The Raiders, who reached the Class 5A state championship game last year, lost to Class 4A’s top-ranked team, Valor Christian, in their season opener, then bounced back to blank Arvada West 49-0. ... “Regis plays top-10 teams all the time,” Mulvey said. “They have good kids on both sides of the ball. They have good skill players and role players.” ... Regis defeated the Wildcats 48-14 last season.

Games to Watch

No. 6 Montrose (4-0) at Pueblo West (2-1), 7 p.m., Friday: The Indians have shut out their past two opponents, but face their toughest test yet in a Pueblo West team that was ranked last week. The Cyclones average 168 rushing yards and 23 points a game.

Battle Mountain (3-0) at No. 10 Rifle (3-0), 7 p.m., Friday: The Bears, who are ranked for the first time this season after three wins against 2A opponents, face a Battle Mountain team eager to prove it is a contender in the Class 3A Western Slope Conference.

Basalt (2-1) at No. 8 Olathe (1-2), 7 p.m., Friday: The Pirates look to right the ship like last year on their way to a state title against a Basalt team that made the playoffs last season for the first time in several years.

It wasn’t easy for Thaddeus Wilcox growing up.

Wilcox, now a senior at Central High School, would often get teased about being dyslexic.

“Because of my disability being dyslexic, I would get made fun of all the time,” said Wilcox, who was shy as a child, partly because of his dyslexia. “One teacher saw my potential and sent me to the People to People Student Ambassador program. I went to France, Italy and Greece and talked to a bunch of students there.”

That experience helped him overcome his shyness, and pretty soon, Wilcox was getting more involved in school, including student government.

“When you go to a (senate) camp and meet different people and talk to them, it broadens your horizons immensely,” he said. “I wouldn’t be the same person I am today if I didn’t go into student senate.”

Wilcox established connections with other students across the state, learning how to communicate and build friendships.

He contemplated going to college to study political science, but Wilcox, who has a 3.5 grade-point average, is now leaning toward radiology.

His experience in student senate helped the former wallflower blossom into a leader on the football field.

“We saw it as a sophomore,” Central coach Vern McGee said. “He stepped into that middle linebacker position, which calls the signals. He took charge of those JVs as a sophomore and ran the defense for us. He was good at it. He’s a good leader.”

Wilcox became a regular on the varsity team last fall, starting a couple of games and backing up all the linebackers.

“Linebackers pretty much run the defense,” Wilcox said. “It’s a big deal, communication. Student senate is all about communication.

“You cannot think, you react, you go. When I started playing varsity, everything is so much faster. I remember I hated going down to play JV after playing varsity because everything is so slow moving.”

Wilcox continued to improve on the football field, performing well in summer camps.

“He’s doing a great job,” McGee said. “He was one of our best players at camp. He was coming forward, making great tackles and good reads.

“I was expecting him to start, then he gets hurt. If he’s healthy, he’s definitely going to play and he might start.”

A sprained ankle in practice has caused him to miss the first three games of the season, but Wilcox returned to practice this week and is expected to play when the Warriors host Hinkley at 7 p.m. Friday at Stocker Stadium.

The Warriors (0-3) need him to help stop Hinkley’s rushing attack.

“I expected to be a pretty good team this year,” McGee said. “I thought we had a chance in all three games this year. Last year, I couldn’t say that. So to be in the same position as last year is frustrating.

“I still feel good about this group. We need to win five games (to make the playoffs), but we have our work cut out for us.”


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