Surfass continues Park City tradition
February 3, 2012
Kai Smalley entered the conference room with a large, rectangular board, its numerous pieces of adhesive tape showing it had seen its fair share of battles. He kept the board face down.
Once Daniel Surfass, a senior at Park City High School, signed his National Letter of Intent to play football at William Penn University Wednesday afternoon, Smalley turned the board over and set it out on the conference-room table in front of a smiling Surfass. "Win The Day," the board read.
Before each game, the Miner football team would give this board a ceremonial slap as players exited the locker room. Surfass will take that board to college with him this fall.
"I know this meant something to Daniel," said Smalley, who will enter his third year as head football coach at Park City High School in the fall. "Hopefully it’s a reminder of how he got here."
How Surfass got to receive a scholarship to play at William Penn is a simple story. Former Miner star Scott Adams was recruited by William Penn a couple years ago, and his younger brother, Jake, followed him last year to the private liberal arts school in Oskaloosa, Iowa. It was only natural for Surfass to follow his friends east when he was given the opportunity.
"Those kids are like brothers to me," Surfass said of the Adams brothers.
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The Adams’ matriarch, Portia, was on hand Wednesday watching Daniel put pen to pad with tears in her eyes.
Park City’s 6-foot-2, 275-pound center took part in a one-day camp at William Penn last June with his father, Ken, in attendance. All it took was one camp and William Penn was ready to offer the Miner a scholarship to anchor its offensive line.
"Dan’s really worked hard for this and has always made this a goal," Ken Surfass said. "He’s always talked about playing college football under a scholarship, so it’s kind of a dream come true for him."
Recently, the Surfass family was invited for an official visit in Iowa. Within minutes of arriving, the Adams boys were on hand to welcome their old friend and former and future teammate on campus.
"He was just one of the players," said Dorothy Surfass, Daniel’s mother. "Within five minutes, Scott and Jake were there and he basically spent the whole weekend with the team. It was like he was already part of the group."
"That’s what sealed the deal for Dan," Ken Surfass added.
While Daniel Surfass could anchor the Statemen offensive line in the near future, center hasn’t always been his natural position. In fact, he didn’t even think of taking first-team snaps until the summer prior to his senior season when one day he was joking around with quarterback Heath Vincent in practice. He had always played guard up to that point.
"I was just sitting there snapping with Heath and coach said, ‘I really like that snap of yours, Daniel,’" he said. "In the end, it was probably the best move for me."
Surfass said William Penn has a senior center going into the fall of 2012, and he expects to learn the ins and outs of collegiate football behind a veteran offensive lineman.
"They want me to start as a sophomore," he said. "I’m just excited they picked me. It’s a blessing."
Ken Surfass said his son wouldn’t have achieved his dream without the help of coaches he’s been associated with since elementary school, such as PCHS assistants Les Wiehe, Kevin Ruda, Richard Vincent and Mike Dolan, among others.
As Surfass stared at his letter of intent, he took a deep breath, and smiled.
"This is it," Ken Surfass said.
Smalley, who was sporting a blindingly-bright lime-green William Penn T-shirt, said the departure of the first two senior classes of his tenure at Park City is tough to swallow. He said he’s already looking for next year’s Jake Adams or Daniel Surfass, someone who deserves a "Win The Day" board to take to college.
"It’s a little tough going into next year knowing I have to be on the prowl for that next guy," he said. "There’s certain players that you know you’re just going to have that relationship with even when they’re done playing."