Santa Fe Chiefs: 2017 football recap
In new head coach Alex McClafferty’s first season — and for the fourth straight season — the Santa Fe High School Chiefs played their way into a winning season, going 6-3 on the season and 5-2 in I-70 Conference play en-route to finishing third in conference, behind only Crest Ridge High School and Wellington-Napoleon High School, respectively.
The Chiefs put themselves in the driver’s seat by taking care of the opponents they should have taken care of (two of their losses came to teams with better records, while their loss to 4-5 Forsyth High School was a super-competitive game, ending with a 50-44 score). When they did win, they outscored opponents 237-89.
The Chiefs got a lot out of their stacked senior class, including eight of 10 SFHS All-Conference selections (dispersed among six seniors, with Devin Breland and Blake Schreiman placing on both sides of the ball). Breland, a dual-threat quarterback, completed just under half of his passing attempts (43 completions on 89 attempts) while collecting 759 yards and posting a touchdown-to-interception ration of 8:4. But he left his biggest mark on the ground game, running it himself 228 en-route to 1995 rushing yards and a whopping 31 touchdowns. The rest of the Chief’s ground game came primarily from senior running backs Schreiman (82 carries, 509 yards, four touchdowns) and Jared Rieves (96 carries, 758 yards, eight touchdowns) while junior Tanner Begemann ran 22 times, picking up almost 10 yards per carry (216) on his way to four rushing touchdowns.
McClafferty, while cognizant of the fact that younger guys who played roles this season will have to step up in 2018, isn’t worried about getting the most out of his returners.
“They’re resilient,” McClafferty, formerly a coach with Knob Noster High School while finishing his degree at the University of Central Missouri (he graduated in the Spring of 2017), said. “We have a lot of younger guys who will have to step up in big ways, we’re losing nine seniors, but these kids coming up are resilient. They had the luxury of sitting behind very good seniors — seniors who were able to lead, that were in the weight room, that busted their butts for almost 10 years in this town, and they've seen that and they know what it takes. ... They want to do better than these seniors.”
For McClafferty, losing his seniors is less about on-field production and more about losing the people under the pads.
“You can't ever replace a kid. All you can do is have the next one step up and have them give their best,” McClafferty said. “We’re gonna be giving up nine guys – a quarterback, two running backs, four lineman and two receivers, but I’m gonna miss all those guys. Everyone focuses on Friday nights and focuses on the score, and that’s good, but being a coach, you’re there on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and that’s what I'm gonna miss. I’m gonna miss spending all that time with them and watching them grow and develop into the people they are, and hopefully I helped them with the next stage in their life. That’s my goal.”
McClafferty, while hoping to balance interpersonal and football-related goals, will begin refocusing on his most football-related goal very soon: putting wins on the board. He and his fresh-faced Chiefs will take the first step towards that over the summer and will compete for their first win on Aug. 24, when the Chiefs play host to Slater High School.
2017 Santa Fe Football Statistics
Passing: Devin Breland (Sr.) - 43 completions on 89 attempts for 759 yards with eight touchdowns and four interceptions.
Rushing: Devin Breland (Sr.) – 1,995 yards on 228 attempts with 31 touchdowns; Jared Rieves (Sr.) – 758 yards on 96 attempts with eight touchdowns; Blake Schreiman (Sr.) – 509 yards on 82 attempts with four touchdowns; Tanner Begemann (Jr.) – 216 yards on 22 attempts with four touchdowns.
Team total: 3,478 yards and 47 touchdowns.
Receiving: Tanner Begemann (Jr.) – 18 yards on two catches; Jon Montgomery (Sr.) – 341 yards on 21 catches with three touchdowns; Blake Schreiman (Sr.) – 33 yards on three catches with one touchdown; Jared Rieves (Sr.) – 70 yards on six catches with one touchdown; Matt Peters (Sr.) – 224 yards on eight catches with three touchdowns.
Devin Breland (Sr.) - 87 tackles (66 solo), seven interceptions, five fumble recoveries, one touchdown, eight passes broken up; Blake Schreiman (Sr.) - 92 tackles (71 solo), 10 sacks. two interceptions; Matt Peters (Sr.) - 67 tackles (51 solo), 15 tackles for loss; Peyton Sowers (Sr.) - 59 tackles (48 solo), six tackles for loss, four forced fumbles; Leyton Minnis (Sr.) - 39 tackles (28 solo), two sacks, five fumble recoveries; Connor Bergman (Jr.) - 25 tackles (18 solo), three fumble recoveries; Nick Borchers (Sr.) - 19 tackles (13 solo); Christian Hurlburt (So.) - 20 tackles (8 solo), four sacks; Tanner Begemann (Jr.) - 27 tackles (21 solo), five interceptions, 10 pass break-ups; Jon Montgomery (Sr.) - 20 tackles (16 solo), five interceptions.