Southwest Livingston dominates all-conference football squad
By PAUL STURM, C-T Sports Editor
In a dominating show of respect gained from opposing coaches, despite technically sharing the Highway 275 Conference’s 2020 football championship with South Holt/Nodaway-Holt and East Atchison (Tarkio/Fairfax co-op), six Southwest Livingston High School Wildcats were voted to virtually half of the 23 first-team positions on the all-conference squad recently selected.
Most impressively, Wildcats occupy six of the nine offensive positions – the eight positions on a standard 8-man-football offensive unit plus an “all-purpose back” spot for a “skill” position player who regularly operates in multiple roles for his team.
Leading the offensive charge for the Wildcats – whose roster includes students from not only Southwest Livingston, but also Tina-Avalon and Hale schools – were Owen Oesch and Jaeden Sears in the line, quarterback Wes Hughes, ends/wide receivers Parker Keeney and Chase Neptune, and running back Patrick Warren.
Four of the six duplicated their first-team all-Highway 275 Conference laurels on the defensive side. Warren was tabbed at linebacker, Sears and Oesch on the line, and Neptune in the secondary.
Neptune, despite playing much of the regular season with a nagging injury which has kept him off the field the last several games, picked up a third first-team nod, being selected as the loop’s top kick returner.
Hughes was an unanimous choice at quarterback, Neptune at end/receiver, and Sears at defensive end. The latter two, along with Warren on defense, were All-State at those positions in 2019 when Southwest Livingston, which hosted Drexel/Amoret: Miami in the state-playoffs semifinals last night, finished as state runnerup.
Two other SLHS players also reaped all-conference recognition.
Senior lineman Morgan Anderson was chosen on both sides of the ball, along with Ethan Hoerr at defensive back.
Of the eight Wildcats accorded all-Highway 275 honors, all are seniors except junior Oesch.
Southwest Livington finished with the conference’s best record (6-1), including victories over its fellow champions. Its only league loss was to Mound City, the team which defeated it in last year’s Show-Me Bowl state-title game at Columbia.
Because COVID-19-caused postponements precluded East Atchison and South Holt/Nodaway-Holt from playing their full conference slates – including their game against each other, when each also posted a 1-loss record, conference school representatives opted to declare a 3-way sharing of the crown.