Coming into the North Callaway varsity football team's 2018-19 home opener against the Missouri Military Academy on Friday, head coach Kevin O'Neal had several big questions he knew needed to be answered before his team braves the beast otherwise known as the Eastern Missouri Conference.
One of those tales revolved around the Thunderbird's top wrestler Jadon Henry, who earned himself the role of starting quarterback after Tully Thomsen's family moved out of the district. Another story that had yet to be told was that of Dakota Brush as he looks to fill the shoes of All-League and now graduated running back Adam Reno.
The one constant among these inquisitions for North Callaway was All-EMO fullback Jordan Delashmutt. That's no small thing considering, not only did he chart the initial touchdown against the Fighting Colonels, but that score sent the T-birds on a run that didn't end until they had won the game 63-0.
"Jordan is the leader of this team on the offensive and defensive side of the ball," said O'Neal. "He's just a hard nosed football player and I'm proud of the way he came out and led this team tonight."
To start this game the Fighting Colonel's won the coin toss and elected to receive. What few people knew because they didn't even show it at the intrasquad scrimmage was that MMA was about to unveil a new veer offense, which is far from the shotgun driven passing attack its been sporting the past two seasons. But, four plays later when the T-bird's Mark Isgrig blocked the ensuing punt out the back of the end zone for a safety, this game was already taking a specific direction.
"Delashmutt is going to be our featured running back. He's going to be playing tailback for us this year. We're going to be leaning on him a lot and he's a kid that's up for the challenge," O'Neal said. "He's excited for that challenge and I think he's ready to get rolling this year."
Because he's shown the ability to flow so seemlessy from tailback to fullback throughout his career, Delashmutt was more than ready to capitolize after Brush returned the ensuing kick to MMA's five yard line. In fact, it took him just one play to give his team an 8-0 lead, and after kicker Dawson Wright drilled a knuckle ball through the uprights on the point after attempt, that made it a 9-0 game.
"Delashmutt was an All-State linebacker last year. He's the returning leader on our defense and the leading tackler," said O'Neal. "Jordan is the guy who watches more film than anybody else. He knows what's going on. He's just a good football player."
Now it was time for Delashmutt to return the favor, so after a quick three and out by the Fighting Colonel's he broke long for a 28-yard jaunt that ended at the one yard line. Brush was in the end zone shortly there after at 4:35, and then again on another short blast, the second of which included a made extra point to extend North Callaway's lead to 22-0. When Brush and Wright did it again from five yards away at 1:29, the advantage was now 29-0 and MMA was looking for a way to slow the tide.
"Jordan as a person has grown a lot the last four years. He came in as a freshman a hard-nosed kid. He started for us as a freshman on the varsity and he's been a four-year starter," O'Neal said. "Probably the biggest thing I've seen him grow into is a young man. He's worked hard at that part. I'm not just proud of what he's become, I'm proud of who he is."
Even though Delashmutt had all kinds of highlights on the night, which also included kicking off, his next big move didn't come until there was 5:53 left before halftime when he scored on an eight yard run to make it a 49-0 affair after the two-point attempt was no good. The senior made an interception during the second session, as well.
"The sky is the limit for (Delashmutt). He wants to go play at the next level. He knows it's going to take hard work to do that," said O'Neal. "He did it all summer and this is a year I think is going to be special for him."
For this game Delashmutt was the T-Birds leading rusher with three carries for 41 yards and two touchdowns while Brush had four rushes for 18 yards and three scores, as well as a 49-yard punt return for a touchdown. Henry also came through by connecting on 5-of-6 pass attempts for 158 yards and a pair of scores, both of which went to Dawson Wright along with his 51 receiving yards.
The second half was another story all together as the score was 57-0 atnthe break, so both coaches agreed to eight minute halves and a running clock. North Callaway also played its' freshman and JV players.
Thje Fighting Colonels in this contest only had one rushing yard in the first half, but came back to rack up 46 yards on the ground after halftime. Accounting for those yards were Matt Thibodeau with 15 carries for 23 yards, Will Baker had a nine yard catch and quarterback Waryvuz Givens completed 2-of-6 passes for 16 yards and ran six times for 12 yards.
North Callaway, 1-0 overall, 0-0 Eastern Missouri Conference, next plays at Tipton, 1-0 overall, on Friday at 7 p.m.
MMA, 0-1 overall, hosts Clopton/Elsberry, on Aug. 31 at 7 p.m.