Fino Cardona returns to the gridiron Saturday, hoping to land a chance to play on the next level.
The recent Boyd High School graduate will play for the West squad in the Oil Bowl at Wichita Falls’ Memorial Stadium. The game kicks off at 7:30 p.m.
Cardona led the Yellowjackets in rushing the past three seasons, gaining a school record 4,641 yards and scoring 64 touchdowns. Last season with defenses concentrating on him, he still rushed for 1,674 yards and 21 scores to help the Yellowjackets to the playoffs.
“It was difficult at first but I got used to it,” Cardona said. “You either adjust or your season goes down the drain. I adjusted and we made the playoffs when a lot of people said we wouldn’t.”
Cardona rushed for more than 200 yards in three games and cracked the century mark in eight of Boyd’s 11 contests.
As he piled up yards during the season, Cardona said he regularly heard from college recruiters. But once Boyd’s season ended in November with a bi-district loss to Van Alstyne, he said a lot of correspondence stopped.
“College coaches were talking to me a lot during the season but after the season it dropped off,” he said.
He’s fielded a few offers from Division III schools to play, but Cardona said the tuition was out of his price range.
“They were really expensive and I couldn’t afford that,” he said.
Cardona hopes to carry the ball Saturday and get the opportunity to turn some heads.
“I’m getting a shot to show people what I’ve got,” he said. “I want to show that I can play with the big boys.”
Since November, Cardona has been focused on conditioning and improving his strength for a chance to play in college.
“I’ve been running and trying to get faster and stronger,” he said.
Boyd coach Brandon Hopkins expects Cardona to get a chance to play in college.
“He can definitely play somewhere and be an asset,” Hopkins said. “He has a lot of ability. Even at our level, you don’t put up the numbers he did without some ability.”
While he wants to run the ball Saturday, Cardona also wouldn’t mind get a few chances on the defensive side. He played cornerback for Boyd this year, picking off a pass and making 13 tackles.
“I like both. I wouldn’t be upset to play some on defense,” he said.
Cardona will be joined by a pair of Northwest players on the West team – cornerback Dennis Adrole and offensive lineman Kris Key. Both Texans will play at Southwestern Oklahoma next year.
The West team also includes Bowie quarterback Garland McCoy, who is headed to Texas Lutheran.
Weatherford coach Weldon Nelms will lead the West team.