AUGUST 15, 2012
The above headline is a dead giveaway that “B.K.” stands for Bryce Kinsler – not Burger King. From my interview with Bryce last Friday, I learned that B.K. was the nickname fraternally given him by the seniors on the 2010 team. “I loved those seniors,” he warmly remembers. And they loved him, swearing a blood oath to protect their young quarterback, who was playing only his second year of organized football. Combining his athleticism with encouragement from his buddies – “They kept telling me I could really throw the ball” – he decided to give football a try. Bryce would quarterback the 2009 Freshman Falcons under the tutelage of Coach Dirk Walker, CSHS ’00, once an outstanding signal-caller.
Bryce’s stellar 7-4 sophomore season came within two plays of being 9-2: a goal-line terrible call (vs. Paradise Valley) and a failed two-point conversion try (at Queen Creek). For a sophomore in his first varsity season, Bryce’s performance was close to remarkable – even in the humiliating 1st Round State Playoffs beat-down by Apollo. He threw three touchdown passes, two caught by “never-quit” John Leonard and one by classmate Kyle Gladstone.
Listen to Bryce reacting to my recollection of how, in the 2010 disaster at Apollo, the last nail was driven into the Falcon coffin. The Hawks were cruising at 48-20, with 2:30 left to play. In came their female placekicker to nail a 13-yard field goal that made the final, 51-20. “Good for her,” was Bryce’s sportsmanlike response, to my remembrance of that embarrassing ending to his season.
His favorite memory of those 11 games? “Senior Night” against Apache Junction, when he rallied the Falcons to win in the last five minutes. Bryce doesn’t dwell on the two different fades he tossed for the comeback TDs. Instead, he recalls for me that senior Joree Schneider made “fantastic catches” for both scores.
Bryce’s modesty isn’t surprising – if you know his parents, and biggest supporters, north Scottsdalians Walt and Sue Kinsler. Bryce Richard Kinsler, their second son, was born December 20, 1994, in Scottsdale. Older brother Justin, CSHS ’09, played center for the 2008 Falcons, and is now a rising senior at ASU. Bryce entered CCUSD as a 1st grader, progressing to graduate from Sonoran Trails Middle School, where he was a three-sport athlete (basketball, baseball and volleyball).
Now if you’re looking for Bryce to make excuses for his disappointing junior season, don’t hold your breath. Here are my explanations. There’s a legitimate difference between “excuses” and “explanations.” First, a dispirited pass protection left him exposed to far too many sacks.
Second, his mobility to scramble from opponents’ rush was limited by a bruised right shin. Third, and most tellingly, he suffered a painfully bruised thumb on his throwing hand. Typical Bryce, he tried to play through his injuries. But he’d be among the first to admit that last fall was, indeed, a downer.
But Bryce is vowing to bounce back. “I feel great!” he assures me. “I’m ready to lead the offense. We want to score every time we have the ball. That’s the mentality we have. The “O” line is working so hard – on protecting me and opening holes for R.J. (running back R.J. Anderson).” I inquired, “How’s Kyle (Gladstone) looking?” Bryce praised, “When Kyle’s ‘in the zone’ he can catch anything!”
Before we hang up, Bryce wants to make sure I know, “This whole team is determined to get better. We’re all following Coach Davis and the great coaching staff we have this year. I believe we’re gonna be fine.” I challenged, “Do you really believe that?” His quiet punctuation, “Absolutely!” My observation: if Bryce “feels great” again, he and the Falcons are a good bet to play that way.
I’m counting on Bryce for a rerun of his 2010 season. Don’t let me down, B.K.!
~ Pete Mohr