It was football season last weekend for many area schools.
The Eighth Annual East Central Football Camp took place at Borgia, Hermann, Parkway West and Ft. Zumwalt East.
A total of 39 high school football teams participated in the event.
Coaches Dale Gildehaus of Borgia and Jeff Duncan of Parkway West began the camp eight years ago.
“Jeff and I met Saturday night following the camp and it was another tremendous success. I want to thank our parents who volunteered and the officials, who donated their time,” Gildehaus said. “Everything seemed to go great. I don’t think it could have gone better.”
Four schools hosted controlled scrimmages both Friday and Saturday.
Area teams participating were Borgia, Washington, Union, Pacific, Sullivan, Hermann, Owensville, St. James and Wright City.
“You won’t find a better high school football camp in the Midwest when you consider the price, the venues, the teams and the format,” Duncan said. “We had 16 schools the first year and close to 40 in the last three years. It gets better every year.”
Borgia, Washington and Sullivan played at Borgia both Friday and Saturday.
The final round of Saturday’s games at Borgia, including the Knights against the Blue Jays, was called off due to lightning in the area.
“The kids from both sides were looking forward to it, but it was the right decision to call it off with lightning in the area,” Gildehaus said. “We’ll see Washington in less than two months at our jamboree.”
The Knights played against Christian, Miller Career and Sullivan on Friday and Festus and Sullivan on Saturday.
“We’re young. We’re a sophomore and junior team. There will be some growing pains. We’ll struggle early, but we’ll get better,” Gildehaus said. “We competed Friday. Did we win? No, but we didn’t embarrass ourselves. We came back Saturday and did well against Sullivan and Festus. We had a couple of injuries, but I think we’re OK.”
Gildehaus saw some good things on both sides of the ball.
“At quarterback, Justin Baylard had a good Saturday night. Kelan Winters was impressive. Drake Raftery was our best defensive back. Then we moved him to running back and he ran the ball well,” Gildehaus said. “Todd Kleekamp and Cody Smith both had a nice catch. On the line, James Mullen and Brendan Joyce stepped up. Hunter Warmack played well at linebacker. We have 47 sophomores through seniors. That’s good, but there are too many running backs and receivers. We need to develop some depth on the line.”
The Blue Jays played Friday against Miller Career, Affton and Festus and Saturday against Sullivan and Festus.
“I was really pleased with the work ethic the kids put in during camp leading up to the two days at Borgia. We performed alright. I think we surprised ourselves with a few things we did well. There were other things we didn’t do as well,” said Washington Head Coach Zach Schneider. “Offensively, we moved the ball. We’ll focus on the running game, especially early in the season. Kyle Summers and Caleb Curran both did a great job running the ball. Jeremy Monehan is a sophomore who did some good things. Ben Straatmann, a freshman, did a good job running the ball.
“Defensively, we struggled a little getting off the field on third down. We have some experience on defense with Alex Schull, Austin Subke, Michael Wadlow and Nathan Kopp. Jared Rennick played well at outside linebacker. Our tackling was a little sloppy, but that’s expected in June. We lined up right and did some good things. The best part for us was we didn’t get anyone hurt.”
The Wildcats were at Parkway West on both days, going against Parkway West, Webster Groves and McCluer on Friday and Parkway West, Waynesville and Ritenour on Saturday.
“I thought both days went really well for us. We were trying to get our legs under us Friday and then came back Saturday and were more at game speed. We’re still growing and developing,” said Union Head Coach Erick Webster. “We had a couple of long touchdowns against Ritenour and did a good job defensively rallying to the ball. Ritenour and McCluer had some kids who could move. We did a very good job against Waynesville and Webster Groves. Parkway West was a good matchup for us.”
Webster said the Wildcats received several solid performances.
“Blake Hulsey had a good Friday and a really good Saturday at quarterback. He did a good job managing blitzes and moved the ball well from the pocket. When his feet were set, he was very accurate,” Webster said. “Logan Bellamy really stood out at inside receiver. Some people referred to him as being quicker than a hiccup. John Prosser and Nick Maher did good things at running back. Defensively, Nick Maher and Trey Edwards played well. On the defensive line, we had Nathan Collins at noseguard and Joe Lasky at end who played well. I was pleased with how our line did. We only had seven linemen on Saturday. We have to figure out what we have depth wise.”