WHEATLAND – Rosters for the 48th annual Wyoming Shrine Bowl were published Feb. 3 by Wyopreps.com and Wheatland senior Adam Suko has been given a spot on the south team. The game will be played in Casper June 12.
Suko, a talented and hard-nosed runner on offense is also known for his bone-jarring tackles on defense. People who didn’t actually see a tackle would hear the crowd gasp and “ooh and ahh” and everybody at Bulldog stadium knew it was a Suko hit.
Suko said he had no idea he was going to be chosen but was hoping for the opportunity to represent Wheatland in the game. Not one to blow his own horn, the quiet, mild-mannered student athlete is all about team.
“I was just really going out there and playing with my friends,” Suko said. “I just have a great connection with a lot of those guys and it was always just a fun time. I always know they have my back and I had their back.”
Suko was born in Cody but has lived in Wheatland the majority of his life. He says his love for football started in third grade when he played flag football.
“I just kind of always enjoyed the sport,” Suko said. “Watching it with my dad and it was always fun playing catch and being out there. He was a coach for my flag football team. And then when we started playing Pups; that was really exciting because you could just take all of your aggression out on the field and it’s just an aggressive sport.”
To look at Suko walking down a hallway at Wheatland High School or even in a crowd of his friends, he appears very “non aggressive.” The humble young man’s voice cannot be heard in a crowd and there is no loud volume to his speech, until he gets on the football field and morphs into a beast.
“I’m more kind of kind and quiet,” Suko said. “And then out on the field it’s like a whole different thing. There’s really no boundaries and you can just hit as hard as you want.”
Suko hits the opponents not just from a tackling standpoint but takes on nose tackles head-to-head and seldom comes away without inflicting some pain.
As to his own pain level, as hard as he hits and as many times as he’s been hit, he has been playing with a stress fracture in his foot. He played through the pain all season. He found out in the 2019-20 basketball season after he rolled his ankle. Not because he complained about it, but because someone else noticed his discomfort. He’s the kind of kid that you never know if he’s hurting because he will never tell you.
“I rolled it, and it hurt and I kept limping on it for a while and we thought it was just a rolled ankle,” Suko said. “So, then we got it checked out and the doctor said it was a stress fracture and I could have had surgery, but it was June or July and it’s like a three-month recovery so then I wouldn’t have been able to play football.”
Suko is not one to inconvenience his sports career for pain, but he has decided to get the surgery done in the spring in between basketball and baseball and be healed up for the Shrine game.
Suko’s coach, Cody Bohlander said, “Adam is a great all-around student athlete, he performed well in the classroom and on the field throughout his career. He is a workhorse. I knew with anything we were doing in games or practice I was getting maximum effort from him. Getting to coach him for four years has been a great experience and definitely fun to watch him grow as a player. He is a super tough kid battling and playing through some injuries as a player and never complaining once about it. He has the mental toughness that is need to be successful in sports and life. I am super proud of Adam being selected for the shrine bowl game and I 100% believe he earned his spot. It will be a fun game to go watch and see him compete against other top players from across the state.”
The Bulldogs which rose from the ashes, so to speak, from mediocracy to becoming a contender found themselves living around the .500 mark two years ago. This past year maturity started to take over and players began to buy into Coach Cody Bohlander’s work ethic and team concepts. This past year, the Bulldogs ended the season 7-3 and were ranked seventh in Division 2A. Only Lyman, Torrington and Upton had more wins than Wheatland. In 2019, the Dogs made the playoffs and in the first round were soundly beaten by Mountain View by 70 points. This year, the Bulldogs had Mountain View on their heels in a hotly contested game and lost in the final minutes by four points.
Part of that success in the turnaround was the workhorse, Suko who amassed 1000 yards rushing for the Bulldogs and was also a serious threat catching passes out of the backfield, breaking tackles and scoring touchdowns.
When asked what was the most heartbreaking thing in his career at Wheatland, Suko said, “I think losing to Mountain View. We played them three years in a row in first round playoffs and we just really wanted to get the win against them. We had definitely grown a lot over that last summer and I saw a lot of kids in lifting and we were always out there practicing, but it was disappointing the way it ended.”
As for participating in the Shrine game, Suko said that the coaches that picked him contacted him before the actual roster was published. The question still remains as to whether families will be allowed in to view the game.
“Hopefully by then the whole pandemic will go down,” Suko said.
Suko is looking at two possible colleges to continue his football career.
“I was hoping to be recruited, but if not, I might walk on either D2 or try to walk on at U-Dub,” Suko said. “I’ve been looking too at Black Hills a lot because that is a really cool place to play for D2 ball. It’s tough because of the whole pandemic thing because they are going to have all their seniors back and they can’t give out a whole lot of money for freshmen so it’s hard to recruit right at the moment. Coach Bohlander talked to both Black Hills and Chadron and they both said they were interested.”
Suko has many fond memories of playing football for Wheatland, but one game stands out above all the others.
“Big Horn was like my all-time record where I rushed for 212 yards,” Suko said. “And then Tongue River was just a really good defensive game for me.”
Suko is a young man who also has the insight to look to his future and says that he would love to go into physical education and become a PE teacher.
The Suko name is not completely done at Wheatland as Suko’s younger brother Aric is steadily following in his big brother’s footprints. Suko feels that he has been a profound influence on his younger brother.
“Football is his favorite sport too,” Suko said. “He’s aggressive too, he really gets after it. He’s not as big now, but him and I go and lift a lot. The advice I’d give him is just stay calm and relaxed and when you’re down, don’t quit. You just have to keep goin’.”
Suko. He doesn’t know the meaning of the word “quit.” What a future he has in front of him.