Happy to be here: Several players choose to play for Bulldogs
When Quinn Zamora was told his family was moving to the Grand Valley, he knew where he wanted to go to school.
Zamora grew up in Gunnison and moved to Palisade with his family prior to his sophomore year of high school.
“My dad heard about the football here,” Zamora said. “It was either Junction or Palisade and I chose Palisade, pretty much for football because of the tradition they had and the character of the team.”
The senior fullback is one of a handful of football players at Palisade by choice.
Palisade draws students from other schools for its International Baccalaureate program in addition to school-of-choice students, since only one middle school, Mt. Garfield, feeds into Palisade.
“It makes a good fit for those who don’t come from the same middle school,” Palisade coach John Arledge said. “We have move-in kids, school-of-choice kids and kids that drive here. We have a land of misfit toys.
“They have to get to know each other and I like that. Ronald Kuntz is a perfect example.”
Kuntz, a senior tailback, lives in Coll-bran, but attends Palisade.
“We used to live here in Palisade and I would watch the football games,” Kuntz said. “Ever since we lived here, I wanted to play here because of their toughness.”
Zane Stewart didn’t have much choice after his family moved to De Beque from Elizabeth a year ago.
The junior lineman could have played on the state champion Elizabeth team last fall if his family hadn’t moved, but he doesn’t regret relocating.
“I’m glad to be here,” Stewart said. “I definitely miss my friends, but I’m glad to be at Palisade.
“Ever since I can remember, when my older brother played, you always heard about Palisade. They’re always consistent and tough. I wanted to be a part of that.”
All three have played a significant role in another year of Palisade football tradition.
Kuntz has rushed for 493 yards and six touchdowns to lead the No. 8 Bulldogs (5-1, 2-1 Western Slope Conference). Palisade hosts Eagle Valley at 7 tonight at Stocker Stadium.
“Palisade is tough all the time,” Kuntz said. “They never quit. It doesn’t matter if they’re down, they’re still going to play with heart.”
Zamora has rushed for 240 yards and three touchdowns and leads the team with four sacks from his defensive end position.
“I like the smaller schools,” Zamora said. “My graduating class at Gunnison would’ve been 70. Palisade has more of a small-school appeal to me.”
“Quinn is exactly what Palisade loves in a fullback,” Arledge said. “He’s physical and tougher than hell.
“He’s the best defensive lineman we have. He’s probably the most dominant senior I’ve seen in the league at this point.”
Zamora hopes to play college football.
“I can’t see me not playing football,” Zamora said. “I love playing football that much.”