Truckee football | Standout quarterback Ben Bolton commits to Linfield College |

Truckee football | Standout quarterback Ben Bolton commits to Linfield College

Sylas Wright / Sun File PhotoTruckee senior quarterback Ben Bolton, shown scanning for an open receiver against Fallon his senior season, signed a letter of intent to play at Linfield College in Oregon.

Ben Bolton grew accustomed to winning as quarterback of the Truckee High football team.

Itand#8217;s all he did, really, guiding the Wolverines to a perfect 24-0 two-season run that culminated with a second consecutive state championship this past November.

He should feel right at home, then, when he suits up this fall for the Linfield College (Ore.) Wildcats.

Bolton signed a letter of intent Monday to play at the Division III powerhouse located in McMinnville, Ore., about 30 miles southwest of Portland.

Linfield, a member of the Northwest Conference, holds the national record for longest streak of winning seasons at any level, at 55. The Wildcats won the Division III national championship in 2004 and have three previous championships at the NAIA level.

and#8220;Their football program has a 55-year winning record, and they compete for the national championship pretty much every year, so Iand#8217;m excited to go up there,and#8221; Bolton said. and#8220;It feels good to know where Iand#8217;m going now and to have that weight off my shoulders, to be able to tell people Iand#8217;m actually committed somewhere when they ask me.and#8221;

Bolton said he also considered walking on at Oregon State and had talked with coaches at Menlo College in the Bay Area. He received an academic scholarship to play at Linfield, which is known for its rigorous academics. The school is ranked 105th nationally among liberal arts colleges by U.S. News.

Joseph Smith, head football coach at Linfield, said heand#8217;s excited about Boltonand#8217;s signing after and#8220;watching him pretty carefullyand#8221; on film. He also met him in person recently, as the Wildcats flew Bolton and his dad to Linfield to tour the campus and meet the coaching staff and some of the players.

and#8220;Ben seems like a good leader, and weand#8217;re very impressed with his character and the way he carries himself,and#8221; Smith said. and#8220;Thereand#8217;s no question that heand#8217;s a tremendous athlete, but certainly at his position youand#8217;re looking for someone who can lead a football team.and#8221;

Smith said he and his staff are equally impressed with Boltonand#8217;s physical ability. In particular, they like his size (6-4, 205 pounds), his ability to escape pressure and his arm strength.

and#8220;He has a tremendous frame, and thatand#8217;s important when youand#8217;re behind a big offensive live,and#8221; Smith said. and#8220;He also moves well in the pocket and can run, which is what everyone wants at quarterback, that escapability. But then he has a good arm, too. He throws easy. He can throw it pretty hard, but he doesnand#8217;t have to wind up to do so, which leads to a nice, quick release. So we really think he has a chance to be very good in college.and#8221;

He was good in high school. Voted 3A All-State MVP his senior year, Bolton finished the season with 2,202 yards on 123-of-178 passing. He had 25 touchdowns and only four interceptions. Combined with a similar season statistically as a junior, Bolton threw for a total of 4,287 yards in his two years leading the varsity team, with 53 touchdowns tosses.

and#8220;I think it has prepared me a lot,and#8221; Bolton said of his successful tenure with the Wolverines, which also included some postseason reps as a sophomore. and#8220;My coaches havenand#8217;t just made me a better football player, theyand#8217;ve taught me tons of stuff about life and how to be a good person in society. So I think itand#8217;s prepared me well both athletically and academically. I definitely thank them (Truckee coaches) for that.and#8221;

Smith said Bolton will have an opportunity to compete for the starting quarterback position, as Linfieldand#8217;s All-American senior QB is set to graduate.

and#8220;So the joband#8217;s wide open,and#8221; Smith said, adding that the Wildcats have three or four and#8220;outstandingand#8221; freshmen quarterbacks coming in, and six or seven quarterbacks total. and#8220;Those guys will be battling it out not only for the starting job, but also to see whoand#8217;s going to be the backup and the No. 3 guy. I would expect Ben to come in and compete for any one of those spots.and#8221;

Like every player who passes through the Truckee football program, at least two of whom have gone on to play at Linfield and#8212; Evan Hyland in 2008 and Robert Acevedo in 2002 and#8212; Bolton said heand#8217;ll miss playing for the Wolverines. Mainly, he said, heand#8217;ll miss trotting down the stairs at Surprise Stadium to the blaring beat of AC/DCand#8217;s and#8220;T.N.T.and#8221; And, of course, heand#8217;ll miss his coaches.

and#8220;Definitely,and#8221; he said, and#8220;just the tradition and atmosphere at the home games, walking down the steps listening to and#8216;TNTand#8217; with all my teammates. And definitely my coaches, because my coaches made me who I am football-wise.and#8221;

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