By ERIC VICCARO
This year’s football awards recognition ceremony at the Ste. Genevieve R-II Performing Arts Center was an uncommon yet satisfying event.
First-year head coach Jay Pope handed out four awards this season, with a new way of celebrating the Dragons’ success, on Monday, Nov. 15.
Ste. Genevieve had a three-win improvement this season, reaching the Class 3 District 2 semifinals before falling to cross-town rival Valle Catholic, 69-35, in an “Old Settlement Showdown” for the ages.
Will Vaughn was named the scout team player of the year.
“He was the most unselfish player on the team,” Pope said. “He made himself (and those around him) better.”
Vaughn, a junior, had 22 solo tackles, 12 tackles for loss, three quarterback sacks and two forced fumbles playing defensive line for the Dragons.
Pope said it was a “hard pick” for “Goon of the Year,” but that went to 5-foot-8, 140-pound Klayton Squires.
This season, Squires turned himself into one of the best defensive backs in the region with six interceptions (returning them for 97 yards), 44 solo tackles and he returned two fumbles for 28. Klayton finished with a pair of defensive TD.
Dale Propst bulked up to 235 pounds through an amped up off-season weight and conditioning program.
Pope recognized Propst as the “Hog of the Year” due to the way he lead the team. Propst had 20 tackles, eight tackles for loss and one fumble recovery. He was a key reason the Dragons accumulated 4,052 yards in total offense.
Tanner Weiler was named the “Loyal and True” winner.
“He’s what our school should be about,” Pope said, extolling the virtues of Weiler’s character on the field.
Weiler was the Dragons’ leader in total tackles, including 54 solo stops. He also had six tackles for loss as Ste. Genevieve surrendered 3,258 yards in 11 games.
Overall, the Dragons trended upward in 2021, surprising Festus 36-31 on opening night Aug. 27, and a close 40-38 loss to Kennett on Sept. 10.
Ste. Genevieve outscored foes 446-312, including a season-high 61 points versus Perryville on Oct. 8.
Pope announced four players will receive provisional letters based on extenuating circumstances: Noah Burr, Alex Fleeman, Aiden Meyer and Nolan Walls. The JV team finished with a 3-3 record this season.
Before the special football awards were handed out, Ste. Genevieve assistant coaches shared their experiences with this year’s senior Class of 2022.
All of the seniors helmets lined the stage.
The seniors are as follows: Zach Boyer, Thomas O’Brien, Carter Klump, Klayton Squires, Kaden Buatte, Austin McBride, Elijah Holifield, Landen Carron, Cole Pfaff, Dale Propst, Paul Ahrens and Tanner Weiler.
Postseason awards will be released until all district and conference teams have concluded their seasons.
Ste. Genevieve cheerleader Isabella Neel was honored not once, but twice. Neel earned most valuable cheerleader and best technique on the squad.
The Emeralds had a challenging season with numbers.
Lieutenant Carter was picked as the team’s “dancer of the year.”
Ste. Genevieve sophomore kicker Bryant Schwent presented the invocation.
Emeralds coach Ashley Crider, junior football player Carter Burr and Neel all won team banners during a drawing at the end of the event.
Scout Team Player of the Year: Will Vaughn
Hog of the Year: Dale Propst
Goon of the Year: Klayton Squires
Loyal and True: Tanner Weiler
Most Valuable Cheerleader: Isabella Neel
Spirit Award: Kyleigh Przygoda
Most Improved: Savannah DeRousse
Best Technique: Isabella Neel
Best Jumper: Chloe Walker
Hardest Worker: Caitlin Gray
Dancer of the Year: Lieutenant Carter