Picking up where they left off

There would have been a certain slice of irony had Dallas drafted Cedrick Wilson with the No. 19 pick of the sixth round after choosing Leighton Vander Esch No. 19 overall. That crossed my mind as the agonizing wait for Wilson continued Saturday. That pick rolled right by, but the Cowboys had another selection in the sixth, and they used it on Wilson, a little more than four months after he and Vander Esch stood on the podium at the Las Vegas Bowl as Boise State’s top two performers of the game (Wilson was the MVP). Now the former Bronco stars get to go on their NFL journeys together. For Vander Esch, that journey is all but guaranteed and could begin with a starting linebacker spot this September. For Wilson, the task is to make the roster in training camp. But we know that in Dallas at least, he’s going to get a shot.

Vander Esch was the toast of Big D on Friday, getting a helicopter ride to his official introductory press conference and comparing his LVE fan bus to Jerry Jones’ luxury rig. KTVB’s Jay Tust asked Dallas coach Jason Garrett after the presser what it is about the Broncos that attracts the Cowboys (and this was the day before they selected Wilson). “We love the Boise State guys,” said Garrett. “There’s something about the culture up there where these guys—they know how to work, they love football. In some way they’re guys who maybe have a little chip on their shoulder and that shows up in their play. The traits that each of the guys we’ve had from Boise are pretty consistent.” Well put.

After a record three Mountain West players were chosen in the first round Thursday night, the first pick of the second round Friday evening was Nevada offensive lineman Austin Corbett, giving the league four of the year’s top 33 picks. That was sounding pretty good. Colorado State wide receiver Michael Gallup was chosen in the third round by Dallas, but then nothing more happened until Wilson was taken in the sixth. New Mexico placekicker Jason Sanders was selected in the seventh round by Miami, followed by San José State cornerback Jermaine Kelly to Houston and San Diego State fullback Nick Bawden to Detroit, giving the MW a total of nine picks.

Boise State has a streak of nine straight years now with NFL Draft picks. There have been 22 Broncos drafted during the streak, including 12 in the first three rounds. As for those who didn’t get the call, some will still get their NFL shots. Boise State tight end Jake Roh, who had received pre-draft interest from Atlanta, has signed with the Falcons as an undrafted free agent. Atlanta knows about Bronco tight ends, having once had Tommy Gallarda and Ryan Winterswyk in the fold (Winterswyk was converted from defensive end). Among those earning rookie minicamp tryouts so far are special teams standout Brock Barr with the Falcons, linebacker Gabe Perez with the L.A. Chargers, center Mason Hampton with Cincinnati and running back Ryan Wolpin with Tampa Bay.

After the Silver & Gold Game, maybe Idaho should consider playing Kaden Elliss on the offensive side of the ball full-time. Elliss is an accomplished veteran linebacker who started getting quality time at H-back and tight end last year. Friday night he hauled in five receptions for 141 yards, including an 80-yard touchdown connection from Colton Richardson. Judging by stats from the spring football finale in the Kibbie Dome, the Vandal quarterback battle will continue into fall camp. Mason Petrino was the more efficient QB, going 22-of-28 for 208 yards and two touchdowns. Richardson had the verticality, competing 13 of 22 throws for 256 yards and a TD.

You couldn’t have asked any more of Idaho Steelheads goalie Philippe Desrosiers Saturday night. He shut out the ECHL Mountain Division champion Colorado Eagles through regulation and more than 13 minutes into overtime in Game 1 of their second round Kelly Cup Playoff series. But the Steelheads hadn’t scored either, and Collin Bowman’s goal 13:18 into the OT gave Colorado the victory. Then in Game 2 last night, the wheels fell off for Desrosiers, who gave up three second-period goals and four for the night in a 6-2 Eagles romp (he was pulled in favor of Tomas Sholl in the third period). So the Steelies are in the same spot they were in at this point against Allen, down two games-to-none. The difference is, the first two versus the Americans were on the road. Game 3 is set for Wednesday night in CenturyLink Arena.

Troy Merritt and playing partner Brendon de Jonge tied for 10th in team competition at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans after combining for a one-over 73 yesterday. The second round and the final round of the tournament featured an alternate-shot format, with one player hitting the tee shots on even-numbered holes and the other on odd numbers. That set the stage for substantial moves up or down the leaderboard; players had no choice but the play the lies their teammates left them on the previous shot. Merritt and de Jonge hung in, but four bogeys on the back nine kept them out of elite territory. The duo had come in at 62 and 64 in the best-ball rounds.

Boise State women’s softball has unleashed quite the rebound during Cindy Ball’s four-year tenure as coach. The Broncos went 26-80 in her first two seasons before a 33-20 campaign last year. This season they’re contenders. Over the weekend they were playing for first place in the Mountain West against conference leader Fresno State, and Boise State pulled into a tie with the Bulldogs after 2-1 and 8-0 wins Friday and Saturday, respectively, at Dona Larsen Park. The ‘Dogs held onto their perch, however with a 5-2 victory yesterday. The Broncos are now 34-14 overall and 12-6 in Mountain West play.

This Day In Sports…brought to you by PEASLEY TRANSFER & STORAGE…a tradition you can trust!

April 30, 1993, 25 years ago today: One of sports’ most infamous moments, as tennis star Monica Seles is stabbed in the back by a deranged spectator during a tournament in Hamburg, Germany. The attack was carried out by a fan obsessed with Steffi Graf—at a time when Seles was No. 1 in the world and Graf No. 2. Seles was the three-time reigning French Open champions and had also won two straight Australian and U.S. Opens. The injury took only a few weeks to heal, but she would not return to competitive tennis for more than two years.

(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment during the football season on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra and anchors five sports segments each weekday on 93.1 FM KTIK. He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.)