Miro Flores did so much more than just show up every day during the offseason program for Fort Vancouver football.
He showed up early to run. For miles.
He stayed late to lift weights.
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Aug. 31: Columbia River
Today: Fort Vancouver
Sept. 2: Prairie
Sept. 3: Hudson's Bay
Sept. 4: Mountain View (with Kelso)
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Heck, one day he even chalked the practice field.
Someone had to do it. Might as well have been an athlete who refused to accept that Fort football was a lost cause.
"I see how other programs are doing it," he said. "I just put as much work into it as possible so other people will see and learn from it."
New coach Todd Quinsey is impressed.
"He doesn't understand how some of the kids aren't always here," Quinsey said of Flores. "He's the kid who's here early, every day, on his own. He'll be on the field this season because he's worked so hard and he doesn't want to lose."
The definitions of winning and losing are different at a program such as Fort. The struggles in recent years are well documented. Quinsey said the first step is to become more competitive. Victories will happen, eventually, but if they do not come in bunches this season, that does not mean these Trappers are not winners.
In fact, Flores said he and his classmates already have won the most important battle: To get to practice, to represent Fort no matter the obstacles, no matter what other people might think of the school and the program.
"I think it's a great school, with great kids who have great attitudes," Flores said. "The teachers care for you and want you to get better and be the best you can be in the classroom."
Flores and a number of Trappers are doing their part to improve, to help future Trappers.
Quinsey hopes every young player takes a look at Flores' dedication.
Flores moved from Fresno, Calif., last summer and played for the Trappers as a junior. Since then, he has been focusing on his senior year. Even when he competed for the track and field team, Flores said he did that in order to prepare for the fall.
"Football is my passion. It's my life," he said.
During spring and summer drills, Flores, a 5-foot-8, 135-pound cornerback, would run four miles before every practice.
"My older brother was a really good football player. He always talked about how he would run on his own. You have to teach yourself," Flores said. "You can't depend on the coaches to always make you better. You have to depend on yourself to get better."
It helps, of course, to have committed teammates. Flores said now that practice has started, he sees more and more of his teammates sacrificing for the squad.
"I love everybody out here. Everybody is trying to do their part, too," Flores said.
As August turns into September, and kickoff is just a few days away, people want to know how the Trappers are going to do this year. Flores is optimistic and realistic.
"Of course I would love to go to the playoffs, but that's high expectations," Flores said. "It would be nice to win more than one game. I think we have the squad, and the coaching staff, to do it. I really do."
Fort Vancouver Trappers
Coach: Todd Quinsey.
2012 record: 1-8, 1-4 3A GSHL.
Key players: Baba Seca, sr., rb/db; Jordan Suell, jr., qb/db; Miro Flores, sr., wr/db; Marquis Taylory, sr., wr/db; Marquis Radford, sr., rb/dl; Jacob Brugman, jr, te/dl; William Doty, jr., te/dl; White Sosene, fr., ol/dl; Ala Tulenkun, sr., ol/lb; Lafi Sosene, so., rb/lb; Lisa Spangler, sr., lb; Jake Mohr, jr., ol; Mitchell Cooper, so., rb/lb; Dakoda Stowell, jr., wr/db.
Season outlook: “We’re trying to build a foundation. The results, as far as wins and losses, we might not see right away. To be competitive is the first step,” Quinsey said. “We want to change the culture.” The new coach likes this squad and will like it even more in Week 2 and beyond. Several Trappers will not have enough practices in to play Week 1, but Quinsey said the full team should be on the field for Week 2.
Sept. 6 Evergreen
Sept. 13 at Hockinson
Sept. 20 Washougal
Sept. 27 at R.A. Long
Oct. 4 Col. River*
Oct. 11 Mtn. View*
Oct. 18 at Kelso*
Oct. 25 at Prairie*
Nov. 1 Hudson’s Bay*
- — 3A GSHL game
Home games played at Kiggins Bowl