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Southwest Livingston High gridders dominate all-conference squad

Paul Sturm
Chillicothe News
Senior running back Patrick Warren of the Southwest Livingston High School football Wildcats drives through a North Shelby defender to cross the goal line for a successful 2-points conversion in the third period of SLHS’ 8-man District 2 championship game Nov. 13. His run made the score 34-6, Southwest, and the Wildcats went on to win, 34-22. Warren recently was voted to the all-Highway 275 Conference first-team defense as a linebacker and offense at running back

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.

Southwest Livingston High School football Wildcats seniors Ethan Hoerr, right, and Jaeden Sears, nearest camera, team up to drag down North Shelby Raiders junior running back Justin Lunsford during the second quarter of Nov. 13’s district-championship game at Ludlow. Sears recently voted first-team all-Highway 275 Conference on both the defensive and offensive lines and Hoerr was selected as a second-team defensive back. All told, eight Wildcats received all-conference recognition.

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.