Wapato senior Caleb Cordova is an athlete for all seasons.
He’s a two-way starter in football, averaged nearly six points per game for the Class 2A state-qualifying basketball team and was the top batter for the Wolves baseball squad.
Small wonder, then, that he has helped Wapato’s sometimes thin football numbers with athleticism that allows third-year coach Skip Gurtler to play the 5-foot-9, 180-pounder at any number of positions.
Take the Wolves’ second game of the 2016 season. With the defensive ends struggling against Quincy, Cordova had a suggestion for Gurtler.
“He comes up and says, ‘can I play defensive end?’” Gurtler said.
The coach went with the idea, and Cordova would stay there the rest of the season. He racked up more than 100 tackles, 10-plus sacks, several tackles for loss and three interceptions — including one he returned 40 yards for a touchdown against Grandview.
His production eventually led to teams sending more than one blocker his way. Unfortunately, all-conference recognition — which Gurtler said can be more about a team’s record rather than a player’s stats — wasn’t to be.
“The disservice to him was that he didn’t even get honorable mention for whatever reason,” the coach said.
Cordova took it in stride, which is his nature, said Gurtler, who also coaches baseball — for which Cordova did earn all-CWAC honorable mention acknowledgment.
“The thing I like about him the most is that he’s a real good young man,” said Gurtler, noting other “selfless” players on the roster. “He hasn’t missed a practice in three years for both sports, He’s polite and coachable, and cares about his teammates.”
Cordova’s family has fairly deep roots at Wapato High School. His parents graduated from the school in the 1980s and older sisters Hannah and Briana were standout basketball players for Wolves, before playing at Yakima Valley College. Another sister will be a freshman this fall.
On game night, his grandparents also can be found in the stands cheering on Wapato.
“They just love supporting the community and watching the games,” Cordova said of his rooting section.
Asked to pick a favorite sport, he quickly names baseball.
Gurtler agrees, mentioning Cordova’s well-above .300 batting average.
His senior goals include helping the Wolves to a couple victories on the football and baseball fields, where Wapato hasn’t had the success its basketball team has.
Cordova also wants to keep his studies in order.
“I just really want to do well with my GPA,” he said. “Academics lead to college.”