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A football natural: Gutierrez-Mas makes impact

THE BAY football players pose with the Catalonian flag earlier in the season.

GUTIERREZ-MAS returned kicks Friday as well.
October 02, 2012 | 05:07 PM
WILLIAMS BAY — Only a month and a half ago, Roger Gutierrez-Mas hadn't even seen a football.

But on Friday night, he stood out like a veteran receiver in the Bay passing attack.

Playing in his first varsity game as a wideout, the 5-foot-10, 165-pound senior led the Bay in receiving Friday night with four catches for 114 yards, including touchdowns of 40 and 28 yards.

A native of Catalonia, Spain, a northeastern state that includes the city of Barcelona, Roger, a foreign-exchange student, is staying with Bay senior Deaken Boggs and his family for the school year.

Roger played handball back home, but the natural athlete wanted to play the most popular American sport. In most European countries, soccer is the most popular sport and is considered their version of football.

"I wanted to try something new," Roger said of football. "I like running as a wide receiver. We have a good quarterback, and he has a good arm. That helps. I try to play 100 percent."

Roger joined the team in the second week of August, right after training camp. He started as primarily a varsity kicker, but he has been playing receiver, kicker, defensive back, safety and punter for the junior varsity squad. Last Monday in a J.V. game, Roger exploded for two receiving touchdowns, and he was featured in the passing game Friday night.

Roger started the scoring with a 28-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter to tie the game at 7-7, and on his 40-yard score in the fourth, he caught the ball in traffic, broke a tackle and sprinted in for six.

The touchdown sparked a 14-point Bay rally, and the Bulldogs nearly pulled off a remarkable comeback.

"He likes to be athletic," said Becky Boggs, Deaken's mother. "He is an excellent student. He is well-rounded."

Roger has adapted nicely to the small-school atmosphere of Williams Bay. He is in jazz band and was recently elected to homecoming court.

Also, he will be playing basketball in the winter.

On the football field, Roger is fast, shifty and likes to hit. He added five tackles Friday night. A bit raw at receiver, it took time for him to hone his route-running. On special teams, he has made two of two extra points and caught a two-point conversion on the season.

"He had never seen a football a month and a half ago," Bay coach Derek Diehl said. "He is a great kid, hard worker, and is very disciplined. Finally, he had his routes good. So, we figured we'd put him out there. He played well."

Mike Boggs, Deaken's father, said along with Roger's pass-catching abilities, he may even be better at defense.

"He's very aggressive in tackling," Mike said. "Roger loves the game. The first thing we noticed is he's a good tackler. And he gets the receiving thing. He is very fast, and he hasn't caught on to the routes until now."

Mike added Roger and Deaken are like "best buds." Roger and his teammates hang out off the field just as much as on the field. The Boggs have been watching a lot of football to expose Roger to the sport.

The family took Roger to a Wisconsin Badger football game as well. Mike said Roger watches the National Football League in his native country, but not a lot of people play the sport.

With Roger, Ryan Bonamarte, Jacob Clark and Michael Guss leading the way, the Bulldogs racked up 225 passing yards Friday.

If the Bay is going to pick up a win this season, Roger could play a key role on both sides of the ball.


Tags: Feature Sports Story, Sports

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