WHEATLAND – Ora Borton, given the old Celtic name that his great-grandfather wore is a senior home-schooler in Wheatland and he wears the brand, “Esse Quam Videri” on his arm and in his heart.
It hails from Cicero’s essay on friendship and it means, “to be rather than to seem,” and comes from the longer idea that states, “Few are those who wish to be endowed with virtue rather than to seem so.”
Borton is one of those “few” who is exactly who he seems to be and what you see is what you get. He is a young man wise beyond his years who wears his heart on his sleeve and plays out his passion on the football field as a member of the state’s highly ranked Wheatland High School Bulldogs.
This past summer he attended several football camps and was not only given a four-star rating by one camp, but was recruited by Chadron State College and offered a full scholarship. Although he has not made an official commitment, there is the chance that he may follow in his brother Justis Borton’s footsteps playing at the University of Wyoming.
Justis also played for the WHS Bulldogs and was an all-state selection two years in a row before getting a nod to play at UW.
Ora was born in Casper, Wyoming, to Tony and Julia Borton and when he was nine-months old, his family relocated to Wheatland. His father is a football coach and Ora was taught at an early age to go after the game with the same passion that his father had while playing football at Bethany College. Tony has also been an assistant coach for WHS for the past 12 years and has been a coach overall for 31 years, so at home or on the field, the Bortons stay connected to a sport they love.
“I can remember growing up playing catch with my dad,” Borton said. “We did that a lot. Baseball or football. I also remember going to my brother’s high school games and when he was a senior, we were all kind of excited because the team went to the state tournament.”
Wheatland High School won the state tournament in 2015, the elder Borton’s senior year, defeating Glenrock 22-8 for their second title in school history.
Borton, a three-year starter and all-conference selection last season, plays both on offense and defense for the Bulldogs and was noticed at the summer camps for his long-snapping abilities.
“I’m a center and defensive lineman,” Borton said. “As a center, it’s just really a lot of pressure to remember all the calls and everything. I get everyone lined out and I not only snap the ball but also block.”
This past summer, Borton attended three camps.
“The first was at Chadron State College for the team camp,” Borton said. “Me, Jake Hicks, Hyannie Fausto, Ryland Petroski and Rodee Brow we all went to that just as renegades and were put on Bennett County High School from South Dakota which was a Rez team and it was a lot of fun.”
Borton did well at that camp and his father who also was present at the camp watched with the critical eye of a football coach.
“We have a saying in our house,” Tony Borton said. “If you have to say you’re it, you ain’t it. So we don’t spend time bragging on yourself. But I can brag on him because I’m dad. So we went to camp, brought our renegades and the guys we took were good. I asked if they were looking for a long-snapper and they said they were. The last morning we were there the special teams coach came up to me and asked to see Ora snap. He snapped NFL times and the Chadron coaches filmed and timed him.”
After 15 snaps, Chadron found the long-snapper they wanted to recruit and they offered him a scholarship on the spot. They want him for long snapping, but also told Borton that he could also play on defense or take a fullback position.
Borton also attended Black Hills State University for team camp and he mentioned that the pressure to perform was lessened because he had already been offered a place to play in Nebraska. The coaches at Black Hills did say that if they decided to recruit a long snapper, he’s the guy.
The third camp that Borton attended was the Kohl’s professional kicking, punting and long snapping camp in Tennessee and was there by “invitation only.” According to their website, “Kohl’s is the only organization ESPN trusts to rank kickers, punters, and snappers because we see the largest amount of high school kickers, punters and snappers at our 150 events across the U.S. Jamie Kohl ranks athletes for ESPN and selects players to the Under Armour and Blue/Grey All-American Games. Kohl’s Kicking, Punting, and Long Snapping Camps provides the single biggest stage for kickers, punters, and long snappers in America and is the most trusted evaluation resource by college coaches.”
Borton went to a Kohl’s camp in Denver in 2020 and according to his dad, did really well.
“Their long-snapping coach for Kohl’s invited him to come to the invitation only camp in Tennessee,” Tony Borton said. “It is their culminating event every summer so they have their NFL guys there as well as their college guys. Then they have a competition for high school kickers, punters and long snappers. They rank you according to a star system and Ora had a top ranking of four stars.”
Having a dad as a coach can have its advantages and disadvantages. For both coach and athlete.
“He’s frustrating,” Tony Borton said. “On the field and at home… ever since he was little, we always thought that he was going to be a lawyer or a politician someday because he’s got an answer for everything. Sometimes it’s just ‘stop talking back to me,’ so yeah, those are some of the tense moments that have come. But he’s a good kid and he wants to do the right thing and I have actually pushed him too far a few times in practice. I felt bad about it and it’s that damage control thing later that I am learning.”
Borton said that he had a lot of fun at the Kohl’s camp and was pretty shocked and excited about the four-star rating.
“It was just a ranking camp,” he said. “There wasn’t any coaching going on or anything, it was just a performance camp. They told us up front that we weren’t going to get any coaching and what you have is what we want to see. It was really stressful at first because it was a fairly big deal to be at. I didn’t find about about the ranking until two weeks after I got home and they put it up on my goals profile.”
On Bortons profile they list his strengths as his size and the velocity in which he can long snap a football. He was timed at 0.69 seconds and anything under 0.70 is considered NFL velocity. At only 6’ tall, he is shorter than most who are looking to play D1 ball, but there has been some interest from the coaches at the University of Wyoming to have another Borton on their team.
As for the food on his plate right now, Borton has put his own college aspirations on a back burner and has focused solely on his studies and Bulldog Football.
“I think we have a pretty good chance of being in the state championship,” he said. “I just have a lot of confidence in our team and in our coaches and I think it will be a great run.”