The Kemmerer Junior Senior High School library was packed full of family, friends and community members there to support AQ Peternal as he signed his contract for college football. Countless students ran up to him after the event for photos, hugs and a “see you in track practice buddy.” There was no end to the support for Peternal as he took his next step in life.
Kemmerer Ranger football player AQ Peternal has committed to continuing his football career at Rocky Mountain College in Billings, Montana. He will be a defensive back in the fall of 2021. Peternal also received a four-year academic and athletic scholarship. Peternal was one of the 96 qualifiers for the National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete in Wyoming.
“This is really an exciting event,” coach Shawn Rogers said. “The scholarship is amazing. Early on he was adamant that this was something he wanted. It’s exciting to see him fulfill that.”
Peternal was a starter for the Rangers all four years of high school. He was a team captain and the Rangers’ primary running back. He also played as their defensive back and kick/punt returner. In class 2A, he earned two All-State and three All-Conference honors. During his four years on the team, Peternal received numerous team awards including three-time offensive MVP, team MVP and Iron Ranger. Peternal was the 2020 Cowboy State combine MVP. He has spent countless hours in the weight room and on the field working toward going to the next level. Even though the Kemmerer Rangers struggled getting wins, AQ’s positive attitude and willingness never to stop trying and playing hard showed in his efforts from the first play to the last play of every game.
“I love this sport,” Peternal said. “If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be here.”
In Peternal’s senior year, he led the Rangers in defensive tackles with 112 defensive points and was ranked No. 14 in class 2A. He achieved the second longest run in 2A with 97 yards and completed the season with 802 all-purpose yards. Peternal led the Rangers in all-purpose yards in 2019 with 858 yards and five touchdowns, as well as in 2018 with 866 yards and 40 points. In his sophomore year, he helped position Kemmerer into their first round of playoffs since 2012. As a freshman, AQ earned a starting position as a running back with the Rangers after the team scrimmaged against Cokeville where AQ was the only Ranger to score a touchdown. He ran 543 yards and had four touchdowns that year.
“Peternal shone from the first touchdown in Cokeville,” coach Bart Jernigan said. “You have put in the work to be here, AQ.”
Overall, Peternal is an athlete. Besides dominating on the football field, Peternal also played basketball for two years —going to the first round of state playoffs in 2019 — and wrestled for two years. In 2021, at 170 lbs, Peternal was the southwest regional champion and placed fifth at state. Peternal has also run track for the Rangers as a sprinter since his freshman year. He has placed at state each year. One goal for him this track season is to work toward breaking the current school record in the 400-yard dash.
At Rocky Mountain College, Peternal will study agricultural business with the hopes of returning to Kemmerer to live on the family cattle ranch. He wants to work with farmers and ranchers throughout Wyoming and Montana.
“His success is driven through his passion, focus and dedication to be the best,” Tamey Peternal, AQ’s mom, said. “He has always set goals in all the sports he plays to get stronger and faster every year. He has worked tirelessly toward the goal of playing football at the next level.”
At the signing, Tamey’s eyes were filled with tears.
“As a mom, my heart is so full for him,” Tamey said. “There aren’t words to express how proud I am of him.”
“I’m very excited to have everything come together and have the opportunity to represent Kemmerer and play football at a great school,” Peternal said. “I’m thankful for all of my coaches and family support over the last four years.”
“Thank you for helping me be the man I have become,” Peternal said.