A COLUMN BY ERIC VICCARO, Sports Editor
Valle Catholic High School’s Class of 2022 produced some fine memories during the past four years.
The group featured seven players — Isaac Roth, Aiden Heberlie, Michael Okenfuss, Luke McClure, Josh Bieser, Collin Vaeth and Charlie Friedman — all of whom brought unique gifts to the gridiron.
“This group of seniors has been awesome to work with,” Valle Catholic head coach Judd Naeger said. “They have gone 26-1 in the regular season the last three years, won a state championship, and stayed ranked in Class 3 for every week they have played, and won our first Class 3 district game.”
Naeger said he’s going to miss this group greatly.
“I have heard from many underclassmen’s parents how much they mean to our younger players,” Naeger said. “They will all be successful in life beyond football.”
In Friday’s loss to St. Mary’s, two seniors had a hand in Valle Catholic’s only score of the game.
On a halfback option, Bieser threw a wobbly sinker to Heberlie, who made a spectacular catch surrounded by Donovan McIntosh, De’Shawn Fuller and Chase Hendricks.
This was the high moment of the game for Valle Catholic, with St. Mary’s eliminating the Warriors from the playoffs for the second straight season.
Hendricks, who scored four receiving TD, was in attendance at Faurot Field in Columbia this past Saturday — watching the Tigers down South Carolina, 31-28. He has received six offers, including one from Mizzou.
McIntosh has received offers from many NCAA Division I schools, but he’s looking mainly at the University of Arkansas plus Kansas.
So, these are the kinds of athletes Valle Catholic faced not once — but twice — during the past two years.
Valle Catholic had a great season, and these Warriors should hold their heads high.
This year, Valle Catholic soundly defeated St. Dominic in O’Fallon, what was at the time a battle between teams ranked in Class 3 and Class 4, respectively.
They beat Ste. Genevieve twice, St. Francis Borgia, New Madrid County Central, Skyline (Urbana) and Westminster Christian Academy.
Quarterback Chase Fallert was lost for five games with a significant yet unspecified injury. Sam Drury was hurt in the Sept. 10 game at St. Vincent in Perryville.
Both Drury and Fallert are juniors, so they’ll be back and provide considerable contributions for the forthcoming 2022 campaign.
“Our guys overcame adversity all season,” Naeger noted. “Sam was a leader for us on the field in so many ways. This group just kept playing, and many, many guys stepped up to help us overcome so much.”
Grant Fallert, Chase’s cousin, took over as Valle Catholic’s quarterback and showed much promise as a sophomore.
Now back to the seniors, Bieser finished the season with 136 tackle points, four quarterback sacks, 23 tackles for losses, four fumble recoveries and 15 hurries.
Heberlie totaled 689 yards in receptions with 39 grabs. He averaged 17.7 yards per catch and had 12 TD.
Offensive and defensive lineman Charlie Friedman had a memorable season with both a 17-yard interception return for a TD and a punt block score.
(Editor’s Note: For the complete story and statistics, subscribe to either the print or electronic editions of the Ste. Genevieve Herald. Subscribe: 1-573-883-2222.)