The North Callaway varsity football team, 8-1 overall, 7-0 Eastern Missouri Conference, was well aware it could claim the league title outright by winning at home last Friday against Montgomery County, 4-5 overall, 4-3 EMO..
The problem was, the closer the team got to its goal, the harder it became to keep moving forward. That process started on Thursday in practice when starting running back Adam Reno suffered a concussion and was forced to sit out against the Wildcats. When starting quarterback Tully Thomsen then had to leave the game with 2:30 left in the second quarter, the team was hoping he wouldn't be out for the rest of the game.
When that hope was also dashed, North Callaway responded by not throwing another pass or the rest of the night and instead claimed 393 rushing yards on the way to downing Montgomery County 55-21.
"We got good blocking from our line. Definitely improved," said North Callaway coach Kevin O'Neal.
The Thunderbird's outscored the Wildcats 21-7 in the first quarter and 14-7 in the second to take a 35-14 lead into the half. The team also charted advantages of 12-0 in the third and 8-7 in the fourth to help secure the EMO regular season championship.
The first player to stand up and help fill the voids for North Callaway was Jordan Delashmutt, who moved from fullback to tailback and ran for 250 yards and five touchdowns on 19 carries. Bradley Berrey then relieved him in the third and rushed for 71 yards on 12 carries, Austin Edwards had a 73-yard catch and a 28-yards scoring jaunt and Thomsen completed 2-of-3 passes for 73 yards prior to getting knocked out of the contest.
The rest of the Thunderbirds scoring came by way of Mason Wortmann with five carries for 27 yards, which included a six-yard endzone burst and backup quarterback Jadon Henry added a two-yard touchdown run.
Montgomery County had its share of campaign supporters, as well, such as Aubrey Nelson at 18-for-24 for 186 passing yards and two touchdowns and 13 rushes for 95 yards and a score, Tim Hall had four catches for 42 yards and a touchdown and Colin Parrish came through with 10 receptions for 111 yards and one touchdown. Drew Murie also ran the ball four times for 34 yards, Hyrum Bishop had five rushes for 17 yards and three catches for 24 yards and Aaron Milner added a nine-yard reception.
Where Bishop truly showed his value for the Wildcats was on defense with a team-high 11 tackles, Blake Eoff made nine defensive stops and making seven tackles and causing a fumble was Luc Bronaugh. Marlando Parker also recovered a fumble and sporting six defensive stops each were Nelson and Milner.
When it came to special teams for Montgomery County it was Nelson who racked up four kickoffs for 109 yards, two punts for 55 yards and a 23-yard punt return, Hall returned four kickoffs for 85 yards and Murie ran back two kickoffs for 17 yards.