By ERIC X. VICCARO
Ste. Genevieve High School three-sport athlete Landon Rose was selected as the Mal Kimmel Male Athlete of the Year.
Dr. Jeff Nix announced Rose was the choice during Ste. Genevieve’s commencement exercises from Saturday, May 22, at Peggy J. Johnson Gymnasium.
“I was surprised a little bit when Dr. Nix said my name,” Rose said during a telephone interview with the Ste. Genevieve Herald on Sunday evening.
Kimmel was a standout football player for Ste. Genevieve during the 1960s. He was killed in a tragic airplane crash on Oct. 2, 1970 while traveling from Wichita, Kan. to Logan, Utah, for a football game between Wichita State and Utah State.
The wheels for a memorable senior season were set in motion when Rose decided to play football — Bret Bieser talked Landon into joining the team.
Former Dragon head coach Ken Weik turned Rose into a defensive back, and Landon excelled in the role.
Ste. Genevieve allowed just 141.3 passing yards per game, and Rose finished the season with 23 solo tackles, four assists, three tackles for loss and one forced fumble as the Dragons finished with a 4-5 record.
“I liked playing defensive back and being part of the team,” Rose said.
Rose was eventually named to the second team in the Mississippi Area Football Conference’s White Division.
The Dragons (4-5 record) allowed 273 points. Dale Propst, Bret Bieser, Klayton Squires and Jacob Johns also helped Rose flourish in his role.
Rose said it marked the first time he played football since he was an eighth-grader at Ste. Genevieve Middle School.
After football season was over, with a loss at Kennett, Rose turned his attention to basketball — becoming one the Dragons’ most dependable players.
“Landon was a role model and a team player,” said Ste. Genevieve head boys’ basketball coach Robert Coleman. “He always worked hard, and he was a leader for us.”
Rose played a blue-collar style, concentrating on both defense and rebounding over scoring.
“He did the little things that most other players don’t like to do,” Coleman said.
Rose helped steer Ste. Genevieve to a 16-9 record, including a pair of wins over vaunted Mineral Area Activities Conference foe Farmington.