Buena High School middle linebacker William Stemler puts down a ballcarrier in a home game this season.

SIERRA VISTA —Football season may be over, but the recognition keeps coming in for the Buena Colts football team after senior William Stemler received the 5A South Region Defensive Player of the Year award.

Stemler earned the award after recording 120 total tackles, five for losses, two interceptions and one sack.

Aside from Stemler, four other Colts earned spots on the 5A Southern first team, while six players received second-team recognition.

“It was an honor to see a number of our kids on the list,” Buena head coach Joe Thomas said. “It was nice to let the kids know that they might not win them all, but you will get the credit you deserve if you keep fighting.”

Stemler ends his Colts career with 242 tackles, 10 pass deflections, two sacks and two interceptions.

“I thought William Stemler was the best defensive player in the region so it is great the voters agreed,” Thomas said.

Against Phoenix Mountain Pointe, Stemler, who played middle linebacker, recorded 22 tackles, a sack and a pass deflection.

“I remember having a buttload of tackles, they are a high-tempo team so I knew I would have my opportunities,” he said. “After the game, their players and coaches showed me a bunch of respect, but Mountain Pointe is definitely a fast team.”

Stemler’s favorite play came against the Vail Cienega Bobcats.

“It was a screen play, and I read it perfectly for a tackle for loss,” William said. “I feel like it set the tone for the rest of the game.”

At his linebacker spot, Stemler relishes the multitude of things he is called on to do during a game.

“It is kind of like being on your own, you get to fly around and make plays, hit people and take on linemen,” he said. “You have to cover receivers, and you get to fly around like an animal on run plays.”

Playing linebacker is about doing whatever it takes to aid his defense.

“I tell people linebacker is the most versatile position because you must cover tight ends and running backs while also coming downhill against offensive linemen,” Stemler said. “I tell the other linebackers you must be the smartest and most disciplined player on the field to succeed.”

When asked his favorite player, Stemler named one who roamed the sidelines before he was born.

“Lawrence Taylor played with a killer mindset that I appreciated,” Stemler said. “My dad told me about him when I was little, and I love watching his films and the way he played football with no cares given.”

After graduating from Buena, Stemler is looking to keep his football career alive. Though he is undecided which school to attend, he plans to major in exercise science.

“I have a couple of ideas right now, Lindenwood University in Missouri is the No. 1 school currently, and I will visit them in January,” Stemler said.

Per Stemler’s Twitter account, MidAmerica Nazarene University was the first college to award Stemler a scholarship in November. MNU is an NAIA university in Olathe, Kansas.


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