Football Wildcats enjoy another strong season

Theo Tate

The Montgomery County football team charges to the field before its game against Wright City on Sept. 25. Carrying the flag is junior Trenton Clardy. THEO TATE PHOTO

After the Montgomery County football team lost 50-49 to North Callaway in overtime in a Class 2, District 5 semifinal game on Nov. 6, all of the players shouted thank you to the fans in attendance.

“We had a lot of fans here tonight,” MCHS coach John Klekamp said. “It was a really good turnout. It was awesome.”

The Wildcats got strong support from their fans all season long. The support helped MCHS finish with a 7-4 record, its second straight winning season.

“We just had some good stuff happen with this football team and with the program,” said Klekamp, who wrapped up his 10th season as head coach. “We hope to get to work back in the weight room, really get after it and be ready to go next year.”

MCHS started its season on Aug. 28 with a 16-12 loss to Hermann at Jim Blacklock Field, snapping a five-game home winning streak. After cruising past Louisiana 40-18 on Sept. 4, the Wildcats dropped to 1-2 with a 56-32 loss to Bowling Green the next week.

Then, MCHS got hot, winning its next five games over South Callaway, Wright City, Clopton-Elsberry, Mark Twain and Van-Far. The Wildcats clinched a winning season with the victory over Van-Far on Oct. 16.

North Callaway ended the Wildcats’ winning streak with a 27-14 win in the regular season finale for both teams on Oct. 23. Two weeks later, the Thunderbirds ended MCHS’ season in the district semifinals.

“Hats off to North Callaway,” Klekamp said. “They made more plays than we did.”

The Wildcats beat Van-Far 47-20 on Oct. 30 in the quarterfinals, their first postseason victory since 2013.

Offense has been one of the keys to the Wildcats’ outstanding season. MCHS scored 40 points or more seven times, including a season-high 51 against Van-Far on Oct. 16. It averaged 37.5 points per game.

The Wildcats finished with a total of 4,228 yards of offense. Junior Logan Hutcheson finished with 1,175 yards on 125 carries with a team-high 19 touchdowns. Senior Drake Deuser finished with 15 touchdowns, including three against Van-Far in the district quarterfinals. Sophomore quarterback Adam Czerniewski threw for 983 yards with 14 touchdowns. Juniors Drake Smith and Ty Leu caught for a combined 998 yards with 13 touchdowns.

On defense, the Wildcats gave up 21 points a game. They picked up their first shutout since 2013 in their 37-0 win over Wright City on Sept. 25.

Senior Kyle Yelton finished with a team-high 125 tackles. Junior Trenton Clardy was second to Yelton in tackles with 97.

The Wildcats will lose nine players to graduation – Deuser, Yelton and seniors John Reese, Aidan Hall, Alec Johnson, Donnie Wisdom, Ben Sissom, Isaac Hartman and Jackson Brower.

“It was a group that I was kind of, at some point, dreading to deal with. It became a group that I really loved and enjoyed coaching,” Klekamp said. “They give me everything they got all of the time.”

With returning players such as Hutcheson, Leu, Smith and Czerniewski, MCHS will look to finish with its third straight winning season in 2021.

“The guys are going to have to step up,” Klekamp said. “We’re going to have to find some ways to win. I look forward to it.”

Also, the junior varsity team finished 0-4. Sophomores Alec Hartman and Stephen Staab and freshmen Mason Leu, Conner Finke and Jacer Brower were among the top players for the Wildcats. 

In the middle school level, the eighth-grade team finished 4-2 and the seventh-grade team was 3-3.


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