When Haize Fornstrom inherited the role of starting quarterback as a freshman at Pine Bluffs the program was in disrepair.
The Hornets’ losing streak that began in the 2012 season ultimately reached 20 games. That number was amended to 18 because Southeast later forfeited the game the Cyclones won 41-0 on Sept. 21, 2012, which is slightly better but still not great.
Two years later the Hornets won their first state championship. This past season, Pine Bluffs repeated as Class 1A/11-man state champs, this time going undefeated. Fornstrom, the quarterback throughout Pine Bluffs’ resurgence, signed his letter of intent on Wednesday to continue his football career at the University of Wyoming as a preferred walk-on.
“Making the decision wasn’t very easy between basketball and football,” Fornstrom said, “but making the decision it feels like there’s been a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. I feel pretty good about it.”
Oddly enough, the standout Super 25 selection had little communication with any other colleges.
Wyoming was the only school that seriously showed interest in Fornstrom in football after starting correspondence during his sophomore season. Fornstrom is also a standout basketball player and received interest from Weber State, Chadron State and Wyoming but with wavering communications. He even set up a workout with Laramie County Community College but that fell through. He was a teammate of current Wyoming basketball player Hunter Thompson.
Ultimately, his decision became which of the two sports he wanted to pursue in college.
“I love basketball but football has always been something close to my heart and something I really love,” he said. “In the end it came down to where I could go and how far I could go.”
He enjoyed his visits and tours at Wyoming, including standing on Jonah Field during and after games. The artificial turf is something that he has become familiar with the past two years.
Fornstrom is 2-0 all-time already at War Memorial Stadium after winning back-to-back state championships there. He has a combined three all-purpose touchdowns and 11 tackles in those two games. Those crisp early November afternoons may have played a part in his decision.
“Playing on that field is something special,” Fornstrom said. “I imagined playing on it for those big Saturday games and that’s something I wanted to feel again.”
Defensive coordinator Scottie Hazelton wanted Fornstrom as a safety, so he would always be the one to call. Fornstrom didn’t have a problem with playing defense but he did eventually mention playing wide receiver. Hazelton passed that notion along to receivers coach Mike Grant, who was receptive to the idea.
So Fornstrom signed his letter of intent with the assumption of starting out as a receiver.
“I’ve never played receiver in a game but we’ve done some things in practice where I’ll do some reps,” he said. “I feel like I can play there.”
The coaching staff has not told him of a report day, so Fornstrom instead focuses on completing this basketball season and winning a state championship. He plans on competing in track during the spring while also juggling football workouts.