Meet the Football Falcon seniors …
Lance Puryear

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lance puryearI’m a big Ted Turner fan, so I’ll steal a line from his CNNs’ graphics: “BREAKING NEWS!” Thanks to football parent Ron Puryear, I learned only moments ago that the 2012 Falcons will roster three sets of twins instead of the two sets previously reported.

Cruz and Drazen Baciewicz are the third set of twins. Both will be profiled before the end of this football season. My apology to them, and their father, Mike Baciewicz, for the inadvertent error.

One more-than-ready Falcon come Friday, Aug. 24, will be starting weak side linebacker Lance Puryear (pronounced Purr-year). He’s set to do his part in reviving CSHS from the disappointment of last season (3-7). Lance minces no words: “We’ve made a lot of positive changes. I’d say we’re a team that cares about 200 percent more. We’ve been lifting and conditioning hard since the A.I.A.’s earliest permitted date (Jan. 1). We are bigger, faster and stronger. This team is poised to do a complete 180-degree turnaround.” And, this writer would add, that senior quarterback Bryce Kinsler, nicked up for much of 2011, is 100 percent healthy again. The ‘Birds will need to have him stay that way.

Lance knows the Falcon “D” has to perform better. At 5’ 10”, 200 lbs., #20 will play on both sides of the ball, sharing fullback duties with fellow senior Michael Thompson. Lance is positive about the Falcons’ return to a basic, more simplified defense, discerning last season’s failed exotic experiments. “Coach Davis still hopes to land a defensive coordinator; but he’ll be fine. I believe he can do it.”

Lance Phillips Puryear was born Feb. 2, 1995 in El Dorado Hills, Calif. He is the second son and third child of Creekers Ron and Karis Puryear. Older brother Phillip, 33, and older sister Faith, 31, live in north Scottsdale. Little sister, Jackie, 11, is a rising 6th grader at Desert Willow. The Puryears moved to the Desert Foothills in 1999.

Lance first played organized football as a 4th grader. He laughingly remembers, “I moved around everywhere but quarterback and kicker.” Lance graduated middle school from Sonoran Trails. For Lance at Cactus Shadows, “It’s all about school and football.” His favorite subjects are history, math and science. He concedes that his GPA needs work. No special lady distracts him!

As a football player, Lance has “grown to love the game,” following in the steps of Dad Ron and brother Phil. His personal goals for this season? First, stay focused in pursuit of a football scholarship to Southern Oregon, an N.A.I.A. competitor. When enrolled, he’ll major in Industrial Engineering; enter the U.S. Marines officers training program; and then pursue a career as a military engineer. Hobbywise, Lance proudly tells me about his ’78 Camino. “It’s a great car,” he enthuses. “I work on it all the time.”

With his teammates, Lance shares common goals: “Win our Homecoming Game (Oct. 19 against rival Notre Dame); earn a State Playoffs 1st Round home game; and extend our season by going deep in the Playoffs.” He’s confident the Falcons can hit all three targets.
Who has most encouraged Lance in his football? “My Dad and all my family,” his snap answer. Lance adds Coach Davis: “He’s a role model for all of us. We seniors share his commitment to return respectability to Cactus Shadows football.”

I didn’t miss Lance’s quiet determination. Whether on defense or offense, look for him to contribute that same determination to the Falcons’ successful season.

~ Pete Mohr