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Rick Thompson fondly remembers Falcon years

Colfax High graduate set athletic records in 1960s
By: Mike Ray, Colfax Record Sports Editor
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By today’s standards at Colfax High School, Rick Thompson’s quarterback statistics from his senior season in 1963 wouldn’t create much of a blip on the radar compared to the high-octane offense the Falcons ring up these days. While Thompson set school records for attempts and completions that year, some of his marks are now attained in the Tony Martello-era of quarterbacks – in just two games. But while Thompson didn’t have the chance in 1963 to toss the ball all over the yard like present quarterbacks do, he did one thing that Colfax coach Glenn Poole liked: he knew how to win. In his days at Colfax High, Thompson was an all-American boy. In its 52-year history of playing football, Colfax has turned out some 13 all-league signal-callers. A three-sport athlete, Thompson became Colfax High’s first all-league quarterback when he directed Glenn Poole’s 1963 Falcons to a record of 6-1-1. Remarkably, the one loss during Thompson’s senior season was the fewest for a Colfax football squad in a season until the 1999 team went 11-1. In those days, everyone knew the well-liked Thompson. He was an A student and the school’s student body president. He graduated as salutatorian for the Class of 1964. Before his senior year, he took summer classes at Humboldt State. His mother, Hope, was a popular teacher at Colfax Grammar School and his father, Lyle, was a mechanic at Kauffman’s Colfax Garage. “Colfax was a small town back then but it was home,” said Thompson. “It also meant being able to play sports with the same guys for three or four years which was great. If I would have gone to Placer, I probably wouldn’t have had the chance athletically I got at Colfax. I would have probably just been a student.” Ed Norton, a former teammate, remembers Thompson as “a good guy.” “Rick, Pat Hodgson and I used to go skiing down at Clementine. We had a lot of fun in those days,” Norton said. Thompson’s graduating class of 1964 was the first to go all four years at the then-new Colfax High. Later in his senior year of 1964, Thompson became Colfax High’s first military academy appointee when Congressman Harold T. “Bizz” Johnson appointed him to the U.S. Naval Academy. “It’s kind of funny how I ended up at Annapolis,” remembers Thompson. “My first choice was the Air Force Academy but all of Mr. Johnson’s spots there were filled. He said ‘how about Annapolis?’ I said ‘fine.’” After graduating from Annapolis in 1968, Thompson remained in the U.S. Navy for eight years, teaching at the Naval Academy the last two years. After that he began a management career with Corning Glass that spanned 24 years. His job sent him to Hong Kong, Beijing, China and Newcastle, England. “I learned to really appreciate soccer in England,” said Thompson. “The team there, Newcastle United, were near the top.” He and his wife, Jean, have been married for 39 years. They have two children, Cassandra, 38, and Christian, 35, and four grandchildren. The Thompsons now call Penn Yan, N.Y. home. Located on Keuka Lake in the west central section of upstate New York, the area is part of the well-known Fingers Lakes. “The saying around here is that if you don’t like the weather wait an hour and it will probably change,” Thompson said.. “Actually, it’s very beautiful and we love it here.” In 1963, Thompson fretted over being able to handle Coach Poole’s infamous “ duck walk” drills during football practice. Now, it’s gearing up for the .67 mile Krossin’ Keuka fundraiser swim that he competes in every year. “Let me tell you,” said Thompson. “I’d take the swim over the duck walks any day.”