Exchange student scores for the Red Devils

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Jamie Ausk Crisafulli photo

Dawson County High School sophomore #32 Nacho Lopez watches as his kick flies through the goal posts during the game against Belgrade Friday night. Lopez, a foreign exchange student from Spain, kicked three of three extra points for the Red Devils.

Madrid, the capital city of Spain, is known for its beautiful streets and large parks. It is a city where historic art is one of the main attractions and historical beauty is found around every corner. Madrid is also the home of Nacho Lopez, the 6-2 180--pound sophomore kicker for Dawson County High School’s football team.

Lopez is a foreign exchange student at DCHS this school year, and is hosted by Brian and Donetta Schaaf.

Lopez had no prior experience playing football before coming over to the United States. In Spain, he is involved in basketball, soccer and tennis.

Lopez said he came here to learn the American culture, and playing football seemed like a good way to delve into the experience.

“It’s like the culture of this country. ... I really love sports so I decided to play,” Lopez said.

Coach Ryan Buckley was happy to give Lopez a shot.

Buckley knew other schools have used players with soccer experience as kicker in the past, which led him to the decision to put him at this position.

“He showed me to the field, I was kicking kickoffs and field goals and he said I have to be a kicker,” Lopez said.

And Lopez has been kicking extra points for the Red Devils all season.

“He’s a great kid the players really like him. ... I feel good about him kicking field goals,” Buckley said. He added that if the snap and hold are good, Lopez is usually on point. He was Friday night against Belgrade, making all three attempts.

Buckley also really loves the positive energy Lopez brings to the squad.

The coach said Lopez’s teammates enjoy having him around. From the sounds of it Lopez really enjoys his new company as well.

While Lopez is doing well on the gridiron, his favorite sport is basketball. He loves how dynamic the sport is and is looking forward to basketball season by constantly working on his game.

Lopez noted that he believes being involved in sports in Glendive have been beneficial for him as it allowed him the opportunity to make friends right away.

Lopez’ involvement in sports has also been a plus for his host parents.

“He is outgoing and easy to visit with. It’s been a lot of fun watching him play football,” Donetta noted.

This is Schaaf’s seventh exchange student over the years, but his is her first exchange student to play football. She said is also very excited to watch him during basketball season.

“Nacho has been a great addition to our family. I knew he was going to be a perfect fit when he greeted me with a huge hug,” Donetta said.

When asked in a recent interview about what Lopez misses most about his homeland he said without hesitation “the food.” He especially misses the Spanish omelette. His favorite food in American is the hamburger.

The Red Devil football team will play their final game of the season on Friday against Fergus County High School in Lewistown.

Reach Zach Tunnell at