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Waldo Canyon fire, desire to play with friends led Knotek back
It was an easy decision for Josh Knotek. He chose his friends and community over a handful of teams that would’ve been much more appealing on the football field.
The standout linebacker and fullback — who could very well end up being a Division I recruit — never even considered going to Pine Creek, Vista Ridge or Fountain-Fort Carson. All along it seems he really was a Coronado Cougar at heart.
The 6-foot-2, 230-pound wrecking machine attended elementary school at Chipeta and middle school at Holmes. When his parents’ work moved the family to Fort Collins he suited up for 5A Rocky Mountain his freshman through junior seasons — but his heart never really left the Springs.
“I didn’t want to go to a team that was already really good, I wanted to come stand side-by-side with my friends and help them get this program at Coronado back on track,” Knotek said of his decision to choose a team that was 0-10 last season.
While he has been a big reason why Coronado has started the season 4-4, trying to rebuild the Cougars wasn’t the only reclamation project on his plate. The Knoteks lost their home in the Waldo Canyon fire. The property — which used to stand close to the Flying W Ranch – burned after the people who were renting it evacuated.
The family decided to move back to Colorado Springs sooner than planned.
“That was the house that Josh grew up in,” Josh’s father, Mike, said. “We were going to wait to move back down from Fort Collins until after Josh graduated, but when we came back and saw the fire damage we decided we needed to stay down here and rebuild.”
So while the Knoteks began the slow rebuilding process, Josh went about doing what he does best – playing football. He leads the team with 14.9 tackles per game – which is good for fourth in the state, regardless of classification.
To say that his old friends were happy to have him back is an understatement. He was named one of three team captains before ever suiting up for a game as a Cougar.
“He chose to come back and be with his family here and to come back and join his football family and he has been just a tremendous add-on for us,” Coronado coach Bob Lizarraga said. “The leadership we have from our three senior captains is something that is refreshing to the program and Josh’s dedication and sacrifice to this team has made it so much better.”