Verde Valley online voters made a local mother Goodwill of Central Arizona Football Mom of the Year by a 20,000-vote margin.
Candi Yatsinko, known as “Momyats” by the players and coaches of the Mingus Union High School football team, garnered 106,539 votes in the contest, an annual award sponsored by Goodwill to recognize moms who “go above and beyond to make every game, cheer for every student and help out whenever necessary,” according to Leslie Woodruff, Cox7 Arizona manager of programming and operations.
That’s a fair description of what Yatsinko has done for the MUHS football program during the last seven years, Head Coach Bob Young said. Young and his fellow coaches nominated Yatsinko for the award.
“She’s been a lifesaver for me,” Young said. “She organizes just about everything — booster club activities, meals for the players. This is a well-deserved award.”
“You can’t run a program without people like her,” John Behlo said. Behlo coached Yatsinko for three weeks before she participated in a punt, pass and kick competition associated with the contest.
Along with the other 19 moms from across central Arizona who competed, Yatsinko started from the 50-yard line, punted a football, then threw the ball from the point where the punt landed and finally kicked a field goal from that point.
After profiling each of the contestants and broadcasting the punt, pass and kick competition, Cox7 television viewers were asked to vote for their favorite mom, Woodruff said.
Yatsinko won with 106,539 votes. Her closest competition, a football mom from Fountain Hills High, received 86,033.
“I want to give a very special thank you to all my crazy voters who went without sleep for two days to make sure I won this title,” Yatsinko said. “It means a lot to me.”
Yatsinko said her supporters watched the votes add up online and noticed the next competitor was getting closer. The Maruaders responded to the challenge, organizing Team Candi, a group of supporters who worked in shifts to register online votes for their nominee.
“I’d surrender every single vote to watch my son and these boys play one more Mingus football game,” Yatsinko said. The Marauders were eliminated from the state champion football tournament Nov. 19.
Yatsinko said winning was a semisweet way to close out the year. Her son, Doug, a 17-year-old senior, is the last of her two boys to go through the MUHS football program. Married 23 years to husband Vinnie, Yatsinko is also mother to Nick, 19, a former Marauder.
“I’ve been team mom for this group of senior boys since 2003 when they were the Cottonwood Colts,” Yatsinko said. “They are like my own kids and are very special to me.”