DeKalb Tigers are Grrrreat!
With an early-season boost from BFS, the Tigers leaped to champion status
By Casey Wells
Published: Spring 2003
After two straight years of finishing the season with a 6-4 record, we seniors on the 2002 DeKalb High School football team were tired of mediocrity. Our dream since we were freshman was to win the Division 1A Missouri State Championships, and we committed ourselves to do whatever it took to make it happen.
We began by paying our dues in the weight room, pushing ourselves harder than ever before. We all made sacrifices, with many of us coming in on our days off to get in an extra workout. Our determination was beginning to pay off, and several players were showing dramatic improvements in strength and overall power. However, our celebration was premature, because within two months most of us hit plateaus. We began to get frustrated. That's when our coach, Vernon Pike, introduced us to Bigger Faster Stronger.
BFS Promises Made,
BFS Promises Kept
BFS was an instant success, with several athletes increasing their personal records by 20 pounds or more in just the first two weeks. Our one-rep maximums were climbing rapidly and there were no more plateaus. This success of the BFS program even helped us recruit more athletes into the weight room.
What makes BFS so great is that you are always making gains, whether it's one more rep on the last set or adding more weight. When you feel better about yourself, it gives you motivation to keep it up. BFS not only built our muscles, it built our confidence. We believed in ourselves in the weight room, so we believed we would succeed on the field.
Another reason BFS worked so well for us was that the program was flexible, allowing our multi-sport athletes to continue with the program. BFS can help athletes become better at whatever sport they choose.
We continued lifting through the end of the school year. When the summer came we dedicated three mornings a week to lifting, running and the BFS dot drill. By the end of the summer we were ready to make it happen. In prior years DeKalb was lucky to have one player bench 200 pounds; now almost all the starters had surpassed that mark and many were benching around 300!
By the day of our first practice we had already set our goals. First was to win the Platte Valley Conference title; next was to win the district title, then advance through the playoffs and reach the state title game.
Let the Games Begin!
Our first test came in our season opener against St. Joseph Christian. This team had beaten us the year before and had advanced to the playoffs, but this year we prevailed 48-34 with the help of the outstanding play of running backs Daniel Sonnenmoser, 131 yards rushing, and Corey Krenz, 182 yards rushing. Our defense also contributed to this great win by delivering devastating hits.
Our second game was against a team DeKalb had never beaten at the varsity level in our history, Midway-Denton. We set the tempo early when Corey Krenz scored a 65-yard touchdown on the opening play from scrimmage. Middle linebacker Casey Wells led all tacklers with 23, and we handily defeated Midway 44-8. By the second week of the 2002 season we had already accomplished what no other DeKalb team had ever done.
Five games later we found ourselves entering district play with a 6-1 record. Our district pitted us against three more excellent football teams: Stewartsville, Miami of Amoret, and South West Livingston County. We routed all three by a combined score of 194-24, giving us a regular season record of 9-1 and both conference and district titles. Next we were scheduled to play the Mound City Panthers in the playoffs at Mound City.
The Panthers jumped out to an early 14-0 lead in the first quarter, but we were never discouraged and evened the score by halftime. The seesaw score continued, and with only 1:18 left in the game, we were behind 32-28 and on our own 15-yard line. Our offense methodically moved the ball to the 25-yard with 30 seconds to go, but we faced a fourth-and-four situation. Fortunately, a 7-yard reception by Caleb Champ kept our hopes alive, and three plays later we were in the end zone and headed to the state championship game against undefeated King City.
At the big game we scored first on a 60-yard touchdown bomb from quarterback John Weitlich to Josh Lane, and we continued playing well, enjoying a 14-12 lead going into halftime. King City wasn't about to give up, and took a two-touchdown lead heading into the fourth quarter. Just like the week before, nobody panicked. Through months of lifting we knew we could accomplish anything with our best effort. We chipped away at their lead and the defense kept them scoreless the rest of the way through the fourth quarter. With just 38 seconds remaining we put the ball into the end zone one more time and secured our victory 10-26-DeKalb's first state championship in school history!
The feeling gained from such a victory is indescribable. This was what we had been hoping, praying and working for all year. We worked so hard to get there, putting in countless hours in the weight room and dedicating ourselves to practice. This is the biggest accomplishment of our lives thus far. We will never forget what happened out on that field. It is a memory that will last a lifetime.