Thunder Mountain football coach Bill Byouer has said many times the main goal of his program is open doors to higher education for his kids through football, allowing many who might never have thought of attending college the opportunity to do so.
After two short years, former center and nose tackle Cole Bossio is the first alum of the program to earn a college scholarship after signing with Trinity International Univeristy, an NAIA school in Deerfield, Ill., outside of Chicago. Bossio said the scholarship will cover about three-quarters of the cost to attend school.
Bossio, a projected interior offensive lineman at 6-foot, 260 pounds, said he came across Trinity after researching schools with his dad for a couple of months.
“My dad had me do nothing but search colleges for, gosh, it must have been two months straight we did that. So I just looked around and I think my dad had come across (Trinity) one day at work, and he told me about it,” he said. “I looked them up and sent in an application, and I have a video on YouTube, about three and a half minutes, and I told them about that. I got a call a few days later and I’ve been talking with them ever since.”
Bossio said broadening his life experience beyond the isolation of Juneau and Alaska was appealing when considering Trintiy.
“My main goal was I’ve always wanted to see what’s outside of Juneau, outside of Alaska. I’ve never been to Chicago, New York or anything like that, so I’m excited for the chance to go and travel a little bit,” he said. “Also, it was a lot about the coaches. I got to talk to the defensive coordinator a lot and he told me all about the community, and it seems like a nice place. Coach is a cool guy and I felt it was a good place for me.
“I wanted to be positive about the school I chose and the loction, so I took my time with it and talked with the coaches for a while,” he continued. “I’m a social guy so there’s the appeal of lots of people there and it’s a friendly environment.”
Bossio, who plans to study psychology and philosophy, said he wasn’t even thinking about a scholarship offer, so it came as a big surprise.
“Well, they came at me with the scholarship and I wasn’t really expecting it. It kind of came out of the blue. I got a call from the coaches one day and they were talking about my film and they had been reviewing it,” he said. “They liked what they had seen and said they wanted to offer me a scholarship.
“I was pretty pumped. They’re in need of some offensive line help and they liked my film.”
Trinity head coach Kirk Wherritt said he saw a lot he liked about Bossio in the highlight video.
“We liked Cole’s toughness and his ability to play with great leverage,” Wherritt said via email. “We like strong and athletic (O-linemen), and we are not as concerned with height and weight measurables. Cole has a chance to develop into a good interior O-lineman.
“Above all else, we are looking to help Cole grow as a person.”
Which falls in line with Byouer’s philosophy at TMHS.
“Win or lose, these kids have to understand that education comes first,” Byouer said. “He had his moments where he was a little slumped on his education but he picked it up. He’s grown up. He’s a ‘yes, sir’ guy and he’ll give you his all, 100 percent every play.
“Trinity is getting a player who’s dedicated. He was a leader, a dominant force in there who was always there to learn,” he continued. “He didn’t talk a lot because he listened. That’s going to take him far at the college level, and I’m thrilled and happy for him.”
Santana picks Presentation
Bossio’s teammate and fellow offensive lineman Seth Santana has committed to play for Presentation College, a small catholic school in Aberdeen, South Dakota.
It will be the first year of the program’s existence.