Two Belmont Bulldogs players are on their way to football greatness.
Offensive guard Thomas Auringer was recently named a conference all-star from the B.C. Secondary Schools Football Association and provincial all-star, while receiver Eli Nelms-Horton was named a conference and provincial all-star receiver.
“It’s nice to see the hard work pay off after all those years,” said Auringer, a Grade 12 student at Belmont Secondary.
The duo are being heavily recruited by a number of universities around Canada as well. Auringer is being recruited by McGill and the universities of Toronto, Windsor and Ottawa, while Nelms-Horton is being recruited by the universities of Ottawa, Manitoba, Toronto and Windsor, as well as Carleton, McGill, McMasters and Western universities.
Auringer’s football career started when he was just seven years old, when his father signed him up to play with the Westshore Warriors. But he admits his first appearance on the field against the Cowichan Bulldogs at Eagle Ridge field in Langford was anything but spectacular.
After being unsure of what to do, he simply ran around hitting people – and that’s when he fell in love with the sport.
After playing with the Warriors for roughly six years, Auringer went on to join the Victoria Spartans. Last year, he was part of a team that went to Ottawa to play against players from across the province. The now 17-year-old has come a long way since then, recently finishing his fifth and final season with the Bulldogs.
“[I like] the opportunities that [football] gives you and I really like the team aspect of it, getting to work out and train with your best friends all day is great,” said Auringer, noting the team is like family. “Also, I really like hitting people.”
Unlike Auringer, Nelms-Horton had a later start to his football career. Hoping to follow in his older brother’s footsteps, the soccer-turned-football player originally started training as a kicker with the Bulldogs in Grade 8.
However, after a few years, he never felt he was reaching his full potential on the field and that’s when he decided to become a receiver.
While Nelm-Horton admits he does get nervous before each game, those jitters fade quickly after kickoff.
“After the first play I’m ready for anything,” said the 17-year-old six-foot-four, 165 pound receiver. “I just think about how good the defenders are, how fast they are and if I can out run them.”
Auringer and Nelms-Horton have yet to make a decision about what university they will play for, but hope to decide in the coming months.
The Belmont Bulldogs finished sixth in the western conference and 13th in the province this season with a record of 2-5.