Minarets High School senior football player Weylon Obernolte, 18, will soon be packing for a 10-day trip to Brisbane, Australia, to play in the 30th annual Down Under Bowl Tournament, with games in late June. He departs June 24.
The event on the Gold Coast of Australia brings players from all over the U.S. and a few other countries. It is part of Down Under Sports in which athletes in football, basketball, volleyball, cross country, wrestling, track and field, tennis and golf can experience a lot of sites in Australia as well as play at a high level.
Football players will be split into eight 25-member teams for three games.
Two years ago, Obernolte thought he would never play football again after both his shoulders required surgery from injuries received on the field as a sophomore.
Due to the time required to heal from the surgeries, the 6-foot, 245-pound fullback/linebacker was forced to sit out his junior year (2016), and was contemplating giving up football, which he played and loved since 2012, when he first played for the Minarets youth program.
Obernolte came back for the 2017 season and had stats that set him well above the national average while maintaining a 4.0 GPA.
Obernolte finished this past season with 58 tackles, 15 tackles for a loss, and eight sacks.
“He also delivered the most devastating hits of the season in our game against Sierra, and was awarded defensive player of the week three times and big hit of the week three times,” said Minarets coach Becher Marr.
His highlights were posted on Maxpreps.com and Marr promoted him on FieldLevel.com so that colleges could see him. That is where he was noticed by Down Under Sports and invited to participate in the upcoming tournament.
Next stop is College of the Desert, a community college in Palm Springs. Marr said Obernolte had several schools interested in him including COD, Cabrillo College, Arkansas Baptist College and West Hills College.
“I can’t wait to get to Palm Springs and get in the best shape of my life for the fall season,” Obernolte said. “I plan on working as hard as I can and I hope to have a good shot at being the team’s starting fullback.”
“I’m a decent-sized player and didn’t play against too many guys my size in our league, so I’m looking froward to the challenge of playing against bigger and more athletic players in Australia,” Obernolte said.
When he’s not studying or training, Obernolte works at Hillside Market in Yosemite Lakes Park.
The cost to participate in the Down Under program is $4,700 which includes airfare, lodging, uniform, insurance and two meals a day.
To date Obernolte has raised all but $800 and he is reaching our to the Mountain Area to anyone interested in helping get him to Australia.
Those interested can see his page link with Down Under Sports at https://downundersports.com/payment/C37F6E84796F. 100 percent of the donations go toward his trip and it is a secure site.