Friday Night Sports Hero(s): Kolton Hager, Camden McConnell, Alec Messersmith & Jesson McClintock
Wallace High School
NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (KNOP) - Two years ago the Wallace Wildcats had to forfeit their football season after not having enough kids to fill the roster. This year, the team has made it all the way to the semi-finals of the State Playoffs and is the first team in the history of the program to accomplish this. Head Coach Eric Miller couldn’t be prouder of this senior group who has helped lead them this far.
“This group of seniors they’re the group that lead Wallace to the first ever semi-finals. They were around through the rough times ya know when we didn’t have that Varsity season and they’re around being the first in the semi’s ya know there’s a lot to be proud of,” says Miller.
Two players that have been around for the entire rebuild are Quarterback Kolten Hager and Offensive Lineman/ Defensive Back Camden McConnell. The pair stuck it out through the lean years with the Wildcats and are now getting to reap all the benefits of their hard work.
“It’s been a huge blessing. Overcoming that much adversity going from no football to one of the top contenders in the state it’s been a true blessing and all of our guys can say the same thing, that they are just happy and grateful for this opportunity and all the hard work we’ve put in since August that it’s just a blessing to be able to be apart of it,” explains Hager.
“It’s pretty unreal honestly. After losing some of the seniors we did last year we didn’t really know what to expect for this year and to be where we are now is great. It’s a lot of fun,” McConnell explains.
Alec Messersmith and Jesson McClintock were not on the team two years ago when the Wildcats had to forfeit their season, but nonetheless they have still made an impact on the program.
“It makes me feel good to know that we haven’t had the greatest football program in the past, so now we’re showing the younger kids what it’s like to have a good football program giving them something to look forward to, so just means a lot,” says McClintock.
“I hope to impact the younger kids and hopefully have them take away the good hard work and stuff that us seniors have put in,” Messersmith says.
Both McClintock and McConnell suffered injuries this season. McClintock suffered a torn labrum and McConnell a leg injury. both are still finding ways to help the team continue to make history this season.
“I help a lot with scout team offenses and defenses like when I see a younger player who’s an underclassmen who is making mistakes I try to help them clean up those mistakes and help them become the player they want to be,” explains McClintock.
“During the drills I try to make sure I’m stepping in there helping out players that are playing my position now in practice helping them out telling them what they need to do and how to improve make sure they’re doing the job that I did,” McConnell explains.
Coach Miller says this group of seniors will be leaving a special legacy on the Wallace football program.
“They mean everything. I mean all the kids look up to them. We’re gonna miss them when they’re gone. Just their positivity and their work ethic they’re just a lot of fun to be around,” says Miller.
Best of luck to these seniors with all of their future endeavors.
Copyright 2021 KNOP. All rights reserved.