Mesa State QB Vigil not ready for career to end
It’s been a great ride, but Phil Vigil isn’t ready for it to be over — yet.
The Mesa State College senior quarterback, who led the Mavericks to the 2007 NCAA Division II playoffs, is looking to lead Mesa to a second consecutive postseason game. The Mavericks (6-4, 6-2 RMAC) need to defeat Nebraska-Kearney (6-4, 6-2 RMAC) at 1 p.m. on Saturday in Kearney, Neb., to earn a trip to the Rotary Bowl on Dec. 6 in St. George, Utah.
“Your goal is to always go out on top,” Vigil said. “We have a chance to achieve that and possibly play another game. For us seniors, this is huge. The closer you get to the end, the more precious the time is. For us seniors, we want to go out on top and play in the Rotary Bowl.”
Vigil is one of 12 seniors on the team this season, many of whom helped turned the program into a winner after a winless campaign in 2004.
“He’s been a phenomenal guy in all phases — a student-athlete, community ambassador,” Mesa State coach Joe Ramunno said. “I can’t say enough about his leadership skills and athletic ability. He’s been an honor to have as a player.”
Vigil has started every game for the Mavericks the past two seasons, leading Mesa to 16 wins in 22 games. He has made the all-RMAC Academic team every year and was a second-team all-RMAC quarterback last season.
Vigil is second all-time in career passing yards (4,455) and has the second- and third-most passing yards in a season. Jake Logue is Mesa’s all-time leading passer with 5,413 yards from 1992-94.
“It’s indescribable, really,” Vigil said of his four years at Mesa. “It’s been such a blessing to me. I couldn’t ask for better coaches and teammates.
“Playing football here has taught me so much about life — perseverance and hard work. You don’t get that anywhere else.”
He was recruited by several RMAC schools, but the choice for Vigil was relatively easy.
“Growing up in Denver, I wanted to be in a larger town,” he said. “Mesa was coming off an RMAC championship.
I was part of a winning program in high school. I fell in love with Coach Ramunno.”
Vigil, who ran the option at Faith Christian High School, came to a Mesa State program that was running the option at the time.
That seems so long ago.
“I hate the option now,” Vigil said. “I think most quarterbacks would love it, but I want to throw the ball. Switching offenses made all the difference in the world.”
He helped the Mavericks snap a 16-game losing streak in his first start three years ago, a 64-51 overtime victory over New Mexico Highlands.
Vigil shared time with Sean McGraw his sophomore year and has started every game the past two years.
“That’s perseverance you learn,” Vigil said.
Last year, Vigil directed the newly installed West Coast offense brought in by former Palisade High School quarterback Jon Boyer, who played at Colorado State and Northern Colorado.
“He was good for (the West Coast offense),” Ramunno said of Vigil. “I wish we had him one more year. It takes time to get it down and he took the extra time and effort to understand it.”
Vigil has completed 122 of 230 passes (53 percent) for 1,904 yards, 11 touchdowns and eight interceptions.
When football does end, Vigil, who married his high school sweetheart last summer, will take the lessons he’s learned on the football field and apply them to life. The sports and fitness management major plans to attend law school.
“I’m going to pray about it and see where the Lord leads me,” Vigil said.
“Phil will be successful in whatever he does because of his attitude, character and leadership,” Ramunno said.