Stonehouse signs with Fighting Saints |

Stonehouse signs with Fighting Saints

Jeff Caspersen
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Kelley Cox Post Independent

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” Dakota Stonehouse always knew he wanted to play on Saturdays. Making it happen proved tougher than he ever imagined.

Relieved to have perhaps the most difficult decision of his life in the rear view, one of the best quarterbacks in Glenwood Springs High School history on Wednesday made official his commitment to play football at Carroll College in Helena, Mont.

Seated next to former football teammate Connor Riley ” one of his best friends ” at a table propped at center court of the school gymnasium, Stonehouse ceremonially scribbled his signature onto a letter of intent. Riley, a wide receiver who’s headed to Colorado School of Mines and officially committed last week, did the same.

And so ended a process that seemed to drag on forever, one that Stonehouse poured a lot of sweat into ” and not just on the football field.

The hardest part of finding a collegiate home, Stonehouse said, was the self-promotion.

“Probably just getting films and all the packets ready and finding all the addresses for every coach, getting all that stuff together was probably the hardest part,” he said. “When I was younger, like my junior year, I thought colleges would be calling all the time. Not at all. You had to wait. You had to go to the colleges. They wouldn’t come to you. The biggest thing I learned is just to be patient, to get your name out there.”

Stonehouse learned, among other things, how to edit video on his computer. With the help of teammate-slash-computer whiz Keenan Hartert, he put together highlight reels to send off to coaches.

And those highlight reels went to a lot of coaches.

Stonehouse chuckled before estimating the exact number: “Probably over 50. At least.”

None of this self-promotion stuff is a natural fit for a kid whose family has always hammered home the value of humility.

“My mom always told me when it comes to show and tell, silence is golden,” he relayed. “You don’t have to be cocky. You don’t have to tell anyone how good you are. Show it on the field and they can see it for themselves.”

A show is exactly what Stonehouse gave Glenwood fans every time he pulled on his red and black Demon jersey. He’s the owner of 7,163 passing yards, 2,156 rushing yards and 118 total touchdowns. He helped the Demons to 24 wins in the 25 games he played his junior and senior season. That 24th win, delivered back on Nov. 29 of last year, landed Glenwood its first state football title in 28 years.

And a show is what Stonehouse will no doubt bring to football-crazy Helena, where the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Fighting Saints have won five national championships since 2002 and play before a community that loves them.

Stonehouse’s uncle, who lives in Helena, has firsthand knowledge, knowledge he’s passed on to his nephew.

“My uncle tells me that all the time it’s packed,” said Stonehouse, who made the trip to Montana for his official visit last weekend. “People are tailgating at 10:30 in the morning. The stands are full every game. … Every person I talked to outside of the program ” students, I met with a couple of graduates and business owners ” they all said Carroll football is everything up there and they support it well. It just kind of reminds me of Glenwood.”

In more ways than one.

On the football field, the Fighting Saints run a spread offense, one mighty similar to what Stonehouse learned under head coach Rocky Whitworth at Glenwood.

But Carroll symbolizes more than just a football fit for Stonehouse, who pretty much knew upon setting foot on campus that he had found his scholastic home.

“I just liked Montana,” he said. “It was the best fit for me. … My mom and dad and I talked on the phone when I was there and I told them this was the spot.”

And, from the look of relief Stonehouse wore on Wednesday, finding that spot couldn’t have come quickly enough.

“My junior year, everything started,” he said. “The process has been over a year.”

A process that Stonehouse insists was well worth it.

“I’m happy with my choice,” he said. “I can’t wait for Carroll.”

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