Stockton Rigby sat quietly with his thoughts as the Canyon View football team bus wound its way along Interstate 15 through Fishlake National Forest for a key regular season game at Richfield High a year ago. Canyon View is not a football program with a storied history, but an inspired start to the 2015 campaign raised hopes. This contest would decide if Canyon View really was a playoff contender following a 4-1 start.
Football is his sport. Always has been and always will. Yet in the first quarter starting quarterback Mike Musto went down with an injury. The second-string quarterback didn’t last long either. Enter Rigby, a wide receiver and safety who played primarily on the JV squad. A 15-year-old at the time, Rigby kept his composure and took the reins.
“Being a sophomore, I didn’t expect a lot, but I was always ready in case something happened,” Rigby says. “We had a bunch of seniors last year so there really wasn’t much opportunity yet (on the varsity.)”
For his mother, Amyanne Rigby, it brought her back to a time when her son was a small boy who couldn’t get enough of sports. Stockton badgered her to let him play tackle football as a fourth-grader (she refused until he was in sixth grade) but he was small for his age due having Rickets, a skeletal disorder. She hoped he would gain weight because he had a spirit that could not be contained.
“Stockton is a competitor,” she says. “Before school as a kindergartner, Stockton made me run soccer drills for him, play hoops, or toss a football or baseball with him. The kid has always had a ball in his hands.”
With the ball in his hands, Canyon View thrived against Richfield. Already with 14 points on the board, the Falcons scored 48 more as the Falcons routed the hosts 62-27. Rigby provided steady leadership in a situation that might have quickly gone off the rails. Instead, Canyon View didn’t miss a beat.
“We needed someone to step up and run the offense,” recalls Rigby, who rushed for 88 yards and passed for 50. “I went out and competed, we scored a couple times and I ran for a couple touchdowns so I kind of earned my spot.”
Rigby has been a high achiever for much of his young career, going back to his time in Little League baseball when he was part of a Cedar National team that reached the West Regionals in San Bernardino, Calif. In seventh grade his USA football team won its league championship. He is an Eagle Scout and a member of two choirs: A Capella and Madrigal.
“Being a sophomore, I didn’t expect a lot, but I was always ready in case something happened.“
His heart, however, is on the gridiron, where he is being counted on to lead his team to the playoffs and contend for the 3A South crown, where North Sanpete and Juab loom as powers. It’s a tall order as Rigby has been recovering from a broken ankle suffered in last year’s season finale, a loss to Delta in the 3A state play-in game. At the time, Rigby and doctors didn’t treat the injury as a break – the initial X-rays didn’t reveal a fracture – and so Rigby continued to the basketball season after football was over. Eventually he went in for an MRI which showed a broken bone.
He sat out the baseball season – he is still weighing a return to the diamond – and spent the summer tackling an aggressive rehabilitation regimen, which included weights, targeted ankle exercises and agility drills.
Through the first two weeks of the season, the Falcons are trying to find their stride. Whereas a year ago they lit up the scoreboard to an average of more than 40 points per game, in the first two games Canyon View has averaged just 15. This was somewhat expected, not only considering the opponents – reigning state champion Beaver and perennial 3A heavy Hurricane – but due to the team’s youth. Nearly all the varsity starters are new.
Yet the team is not using it as an excuse. Winning more games than they lose – something that hasn’t happened on the north side of Cedar City since 2004 – is the objective.
“In the preseason our goal is to get better every game,” Rigby said. “We are so young and need to develop team chemistry. Our goal is to have a winning season.” • HSSI