Poston Butte’s Thompson Earns AzNFF Honors

2 years ago Andrew Luberda 0

Poston Butte senior football player Tyler Thompson was honored by the National Football Foundation – Valley of the Sun Chapter at the 37th Annual Scholar Athlete Awards Banquet, which took place on Saturday, Mar. 24, at the Scottsdale Hilton Resort & Villas.

Thompson, who earned postseason recognition for his performance on the field, including 5A All-Conference First Team, 5A Sonoran Region Defensive Player of the year, 5A Sonoran Region First Team, and All-County Line Preps First Team, was named to NFF Valley of the Sun Chapter & Fiesta Bowl Charities Second Team.

He was one of 60 Scholar Athletes honored representing more than 250,000 high school football players from 186 high schools in central and northern Arizona. The winners were selected based on the combined criteria of 40% academics, 40% football accomplishments and 20% school and community citizenship and participation.

“It is indescribable to sit on the stage with the best of the best Arizona scholar-athletes,” Thompson answered when asked what the AzNFF honor meant to him. “It was such an honor to hear all these amazing stories and to be around all of these incredible athletes. It is a true blessing to be nominated into this unbelievable organization.”

The AzNFF presents the Ron Pritchard Linebacker Award annually. As a freshman, Thompson, a linebacker, was coached by Pritchard, the former Arizona State All-American.

“I loved having a chance to see and talk to my old football coach,” Thompson said.

Thompson’s father Dain is the Broncos’ head coach and spoke first about one of his players earning recognition before describing the pride he feels as a parent.

“Having one of our players included was a great accomplishment for the player, our football program, and our school,” Dain Thompson told “This was a great celebration of high school seniors who represent the total package – amazing accomplishments in the classroom, on the football fields, and in the communities.”

“It (is) important to our school and community to have a representative in such a prestigious group,” he added. “I am very proud to have Tyler call me coach.”

Tyler’s recognition was special for his family, including his mother Denise, sister Payton, and grandparents, who attended the banquet.

“Denise and I are very proud parents,” Dain said. “Tyler and Payton are first and foremost really good kids, and we love them very much.”

“Tyler has worked very hard over the last four years and has acquired a great work ethic during that time. He persevered through his share of obstacles – moving to a new city and school, significant injuries, coaching changes – and believe it or not, it is not always easy being a coach’s kid.”

“Tyler doesn’t hear it from me enough, but he really does deserve the recognition,” Dain continued. “He is fiercely competitive and fiercely loyal. He has never been one to just settle, and he should be commended for that. I am very proud to have him call me dad.”

Despite his 5-foot-9, 170-pound frame, Tyler has displayed the passion, skills, knowledge, and football IQ to play at a level beyond high school. An ear-to-ear smile always emerged when he talked about the sport. But after a couple of significant knee injuries and successful rehabs he’s decided his playing days are over.

“Football has been part of my life since as long as I can remember, and I wouldn’t change that for anything,” he said. “I have learned so much from football and all the people that have influenced me through the sport, and for that l will always be very grateful.”

“My decision hasn’t been easy, but I have decided to hang up my cleats and helmet and take a different path.”

That “path” includes the pursuit of a career as a physical therapist. He acknowledged the process of choosing a college has “felt a little overwhelming,” but he will make his decision soon.

Dain Thompson will serve as the Poston Butte Head Coach even after his best player and son graduates in May. The player was asked what advice he’d give to returning teammates and new incoming players.

“Just the other day I was talking with one of our freshman athletes about the significance of being a scholar-athlete,” Tyler recalled in response. “The key I hope he got from the conversation was balance – grades, family, community – needs to be a priority.”

“To be a successful athlete you must be a dependable student first, a dependable (child), and a dependable person. Football will eventually come to an end, and at that point if you are not a football player, (then) who are you?”

Tyler has answered that question for himself.