By Bill Tamburrino
The 2011 Bulldog football team held its awards banquet at Barona Resort on Dec. 14.
Running back/linebacker/special teams player Kirk Kaliszewski needed a truck to haul away the hardware that he received. Kaliszewski received an award for being a team captain to open the banquet.
He should have never returned to his seat as he was called back to receive the Most Inspirational Player Award. After taking his trophy to his seat, he was called back to get the Most Valuable Offensive Player Award.
Kaliszewski’s final award of the night was Most Valuable Player on the Team, and the always smiling senior with the shaggy haircut received a standing ovation with the award.
“That is what our team thought about Kirk,” said Coach Damon Baldwin. “All of the awards were voted on by the team except for the Scholar Athlete and the Coaches Big Dawg Award. Kirk was our leader on offense, defense and our emotional leader. He led by example and by hard work. He continued to lead us even after he was knocked out by an injury. There is a tradition of outstanding running backs and linebackers at RHS and Kirk took up that tradition and took it to a new level.”
Seniors Erik Box and Luke Papps also were honored as team captains. Sophomore Ryan Lopez was voted the team’s Offensive Scout Team Player of the Year. Senior Sam Noel was selected as the team’s Defensive Scout Team Player of the Year. Scout players have the difficult job of giving the first team a good look in practice scrimmages.
Senior Kwayde Miller and sophomore Christian Drews were voted the Most Improved Offensive Players of the Year. Sophomore Patrick Hastings was selected as the Most Improved Defensive Player of the Year.
Miller shared the Offensive Lineman of the Year honors with Luke Papps. Papps is the first Bulldog to earn that honor two years in a row. Junior Daniel Kemp was the team’s Defensive Lineman of the Year.
Senior Ben Woods earned the Scholar Athlete of the Year by achieving a 4.65 grade point average on a scale of 4.0. Woods hit the books as hard as he hit opponents.
The Special Teams Player of the Year award went to junior Javier Dominguez. Dominguez also was voted as the team’s Most Valuable Defensive Player.
The coaches selected Elias Jauregui as the Coaches “Big Dawg” Award winner. The coaches select the player who most epitomizes what a Bulldog football player should be. Ability, dedication, sportsmanship, scholarship and leadership are all criteria for the award.
“Jauregui played defense, special teams and stepped in on offense when Kaliszewski went down and gave it all he had on every play. He was an inspirational leader,” explained Baldwin.
Lauren Teets, Samantha Koegel, Alyssa Sherman, Anthony Bishop and Kory Baldwin received plaques for their year-round effort as hydration team members. The hydration team keeps the players hydrated in the Dog Days of Spring, Summer and Hell Week and at every practice and game during the season.