There’s one common thread among the five tight end candidates as voting for that position in Boise State’s 30-Year All-Blue Team wraps up today. They could all go deep. Let’s go in chronological order. Larry Stayner played for the Broncos from 1988-91 and was a consistent offensive force. Perhaps his biggest catch helped save a winning season in 1991. In the second-to-last game of that campaign, Boise State was trailing Eastern Washington 13-10 going into the fourth quarter on the blue turf. Stayner caught a Mike Virden pass at the Bronco 34-yard-line and wove his way 66-yards for the go-ahead touchdown in an eventual 27-20 win. By the way, after focusing on pre-med at Boise State, he went on to University of Washington med school and is now Dr. Larry Stayner, a prominent orthopedic surgeon in Missoula.
Del Graven was a local favorite from Vale and led Boise State with 54 receptions in 1993 while earning first-team All-Big Sky honors. The Broncos’ bread-and-butter play during Pokey Allen’s first season in 1993 was “U-bump-flat,” with the quarterback (Danny Langsdorf or Tony Hilde) rolling against the flow and Graven running a pattern that did the same. Graven broke a 63-yarder on that play at Nevada on an otherwise sour day that ended in a 38-10 loss. He was moved to fullback, though, as a junior and senior and wouldn’t match those ’93 numbers.
Dave Stachelski was a converted defensive lineman with tremendous upper body strength. He played a pivotal part in a key win during Boise State’s breakout season in 1999, hauling in an 80-yard touchdown pass from Bart Hendricks in a 26-20 victory over Utah on the blue turf. Stachelski was later drafted in the fifth round by the New England Patriots and became the first former Bronco ever to score points in an NFL Playoff game. He did that for the New Orleans Saints in January, 2001, on a TD catch in a 34-16 divisional round loss at Minnesota.
Jeb Putzier capped his career with an 80-yard touchdown catch from Ryan Dinwiddie against San Jose State in 2001. Earlier that season Putzier had two crucial TD grabs in the program-changing 35-30 upset at No. 8 Fresno State. What affects the former Eagle High star in All-Blue tight end context is that he was switched to wide receiver as a sophomore and junior. Putzier was very good there, too—he made 73 of his 128 career catches as a wideout. He became a solid tight end in the NFL as a Denver Bronco.
Which brings us to fellow Eagle High grad Derek Schouman, who could go short, medium and long and could set the edge in the running game. Schouman, of course, snagged two of the most important touchdown receptions in school history—the 18-yarder from Dinwiddie that beat TCU in the 2003 Fort Worth Bowl and the five-yarder from Vinny Perretta just before Ian Johnson’s two-point conversion that upset Oklahoma in Boise State’s first Fiesta Bowl. The vote here goes to Shoe.
Maybe all Boise Hawks games should be seven innings. In a rare doubleheader at Memorial Stadium last night, the Hawks swept the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes, 2-0 and 7-4. What a night it was for the Hawks’ Jacob Bosiokovic. In the first game the first baseman out of Ohio State went 3-for-3, including a mammoth solo home run. That supported the four-hit pitching of Antonio Santos, Justin Calomemi and Julian Fernandez. Seven innings or no seven innings, it was Boise’s first shutout of the season. In the nightcap Bosiokovic picked up three more RBIs and now has 16 for the season to go with a .354 batting average. The Hawks are off tonight for the MLB All-Star break.
Former Boise Hawks Kris Bryant and Josh Donaldson will suit up against each other again tonight in the All-Star Game. There have been 19 All-Star Game picks among Boise alums, including two in each of the past three years now. Bryant, the Cubs star who made it to the Mid-Summer Classic last season on his way to National League Rookie of the Year honors, is even better this year with his .286 batting average, 25 home runs and 65 RBIs. And there’s this: his No. 17 Cubs jersey is currently the second-best seller in the majors behind retiring Red Sox star David Ortiz.
Donaldson is cookin’ along again this year. He has amassed 201 total bases to go along with 80 runs scored. The only other reigning Most Valuable Player winners in either league to reach the All-Star break with 200 total bases and 75 runs scored were Frank Thomas in 1994 (241 and 93) and Ken Griffey, Jr. in 1998 (234 and 76), the Elias Sports Bureau notes. And Donaldson is full of ideas on how to make baseball more fun. As he held court in San Diego yesterday, he suggested that fouls balls leaving the ballpark should count as home runs, and dingers over 450 feet should count as two.
Zika, security, filthy water—nothing was going to stem Graham DeLaet’s desire to make the Canadian Olympic golf team. The squad was announced yesterday, and the former Boise State star is on it, along with David Hearn. DeLaet’s caddy, Julian Trudeau, is staying home, though. So DeLaet will have his buddy, former NHL star Ray Whitney, on his bag. “Graham’s caddy is a younger guy and he recently got married and they’re going to start a family and the Zika virus scared them off,” said Whitney. “Graham totally got it and understood it, so he asked me if I was interested. I’m up in Idaho with my family and at first I said no to Graham but when I got off the phone I talked it over with my family and some friends and thought, ‘What am I thinking? It’ll be a great experience.’ It’ll be something I’ll always remember.”
The Idaho Steelheads will essentially be in the same ECHL division next season, but it’ll have a new name and more bulk. Instead of the West Division, it’ll be the Mountain Division. And instead of a five-team lineup, there’ll be seven squads. And it promises to be the strongest group in the league. The ECHL is moving the defending Kelly Cup champion Allen Americans and the team with the best regular-season record in 2015-16, the Missouri Mavericks, into the Mountain Division. The Steelies fell to Allen in seven games in the ECHL Western Conference quarterfinals in April.
Boise State wrestling fans will have to cut new Bronco coach Mike Mendoza some slack in his first season. BSU’s star wrestler, two-time Pac-12 champion Geo Martinez, has been released from his scholarship and is seeking a transfer to Oklahoma State, according to OpenMat.com. Martinez, a junior from Peyton, CO, apparently pursued the release after coach Greg Randall was fired following last season and before Mendoza was hired. That’s small consolation for Mendoza, who’s trying to rebuild a once-proud program. Martinez finished eighth at this year’s NCAA Championships at 149 pounds.
This Day In Sports…July 12, 1996, 20 years ago today:
Minnesota’s most popular player, Kirby Puckett, retires from baseball because of a permanently-damaged retina in his right eye. The 5-9, 225-pounder with an infectious love for the game led the Twins to World Series championships in 1987 and 1991. Puckett batted .318 for his career with four league-leading 200-hit seasons, a batting title in 1989, and an RBI crown in 1994. He played in ten consecutive All-Star Games preceding his retirement. Puckett passed away in 2006.
(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment Sunday nights at 10:30PM on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra and anchors five sports segments each weekday on 93.1 The Ticket. He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.)