By DAN FOX
The Hermann Bearcats ended their run for the season with a 7-4 record after falling to Hallsville in the Missouri High School Class 2 Football tournament.
Hallsville played a tough game Nov. 8 – racking up the score while shutting out the Bearcats’ offense. Hallsville’s biggest quarter was the first, and which ended with 28 points on the board.
“Hallsville was a very well-coached team, very athletic, who played really well,” said coach Andy Emmons. “We kind of came out flat – they got up big on us early.”
Hallsville did have an explosive start, but Emmons’ players made defensive changes that worked well in slowing them down.
The score was 35-0, Hallsville, as the game went into halftime. Hermann locked Hallsville down throughout the third, preventing any touchdowns, the Bearcats’ foes were only able to pick up another seven points to finish the game 42-0.
“The kids continued to fight really hard and play very competitively, but things didn’t really go our way, [we] made a few mistakes defensively, and it led to big plays for them,” Emmons said. “They’re one of the better teams we’ve seen all year for sure.”
This loss follows Hermann’s victory in the previous playoff game, where the Bearcats went toe-to-toe against Montgomery County, eventually winning 28-24 after a bunch of back-and forth scoring.
While Emmons said the game against Hallsville was not the Bearcats’ best game, his overall impression of the season was very positive.
“In the history of Hermann football, 7-4 puts us in top 10 wins,” Emmons said, crediting the success to the leadership of the 10 seniors on the team. “With almost 50 years of Hermann football, that’s saying a lot.”
The program is back in its upswing following a lull in performance; 2014 saw the Bearcats go 9-3, 2015 was 7-4, 2016 was an 8-4 season, and then 2017 and 2018 were lower points, with records of 4-6 and 3-7 respectively.
“It’s a testament to their [the senior’s] leadership and their work ethic to get us back on a winning track,” Emmons said.
“A lot of these seniors have played since they were sophomores, and did a lot of really good things for the football program,” Emmons added. “They’re going to be missed for sure.”
Emmons highlighted a number of the seniors for their efforts, including quarterback Chase McKague – who had a great season running offense – and Trent Gleeson, who Emmons said had a “fantastic defensive season.”
“[Gleeson] had over 100 solo tackles, he set the school records for tackles for a loss, he tied the school record for sacks, and he had a great defensive season,” Emmons said.
Offensive and defensive lineman Collin Heather was another senior that really impressed Emmons, who said Heather “finished the year really strong, playing really well.”
Losing 10 seniors out of 38 players is no small amount of the team, but Emmons said there is potential to move up from the JV team – who went 8-1 this season. In addition, the varsity team played a lot of underclassmen this season, so those players will bring experience back with them next season.
“It’s going to come down to their work ethic in the weight room,” Emmons said. “If their work ethic is strong enough, we will be very successful next year.”