the scenes: Notes,
quotes, and commentary
Eating packets of mustard key for Frogge
The Platte County Pirates won their 42nd game in a row
and racked up their third straight Class 3 state title
with a 34-13 win over Salem in the Edward Jones Dome in
St. Louis Saturday. Read on for some notes, quotes and
commentary from the Pirates' camp in St. Louis.
Bill Schuchardt, Salems head coach, shocked
me during the postgame press conference when he talked
about setting goals - or not setting goals. Ive
never set it as a goal to win the state championship,
stated Schuchardt. I just hope that we play well
enough to get here. So I guess you could say Ive
never missed my goal. Salem lost in the semifinals
last year and was defeated by Platte County for the title
in 2000. After three consecutive years of knocking on
the goal post, I think its time for Schuchardt to
take the plunge and have his team commit their efforts
to winning a state championship.
Speaking of Schuchardts postgame press conference,
things got a bit lively when I questioned his decision
to continue to run the football despite being down by
three touchdowns most of the second half. We have
found that we can score faster on the ground than through
the air, explained Schuchardt. I reminded him that
his team was only able to score on Platte County once
he decided to throw to his tight end, who was running
free in the Pirates secondary. I also stated that
his quarterback, Tyler Dillon, showed a very nice arm
on the few long aerials he was allowed to toss. Schuchardt
was unflappable. Thats just how we play,
he answered. Im just not smart enough to throw
the ball. I dont know the passing game well enough.
Platte County has won three consecutive Class 3
titles with three different starting quarterbacks. That
is an amazing feat, especially when you consider how much
of the Pirates offense depends on the quarterbacks
ability to read the defense. Weve basically
done this with three different teams, explained
Chip Sherman, the Pirates head coach. Brandon
Gutshall was best at reading, reacting and adjusting to
defenses. Robbie Campbell was a very, very good athlete.
Robbie also audibled very well. Hawk (Chris Hawkins) did
a wonderful job this year. He threw it when we needed
it thrown and he ran the team well. For a young kid, he
handled the pressure of that position very, very well.
Hawk is only going to get better because he works so hard.
Some wishbone-loving Salem fans sported t-shirts
that read, 2002 Bone-A-Fide Contenders. The
backside of the shirts read, 48 more minutes.
Hopefully they can get a refund for their faulty merchandise.
There is a good reason the Show-Me Bowl is played
indoors at the Edward Jones Dome each November. Its
called winter. Fans had to contend with a bone-cold 44-mph
wind out of the northwest while walking from the parking
lot to the stadium. It was enough to dissipate any hometown
thoughts I may have harbored for an Arrowhead Show-Me
Coach Sherman chastised Aaron Bernard, the Pirates
fullback, for fumbling at the Salem nine-yard line on
the Pirates first drive of the game. He also lit
into Bernard for lining up incorrectly in an unbalanced
offensive set. Get focused and get your head in
the game, Sherman barked at his senior on the Pirates
sideline. Sherman doesnt play favorites when it
comes to discipline. Bernard must have listened because
he closed out his career as a Pirate in style with a 50-yard
dash into the end zone with 2:25 remaining in the game.
Why does Travis Frogge gobble little packets of
Burger King mustard throughout the game? Coach K
(Chris Kendrick) told me that mustard was a good way to
prevent muscle cramps, says Frogge, who was hindered
by cramping late in the semifinal contest against Seneca.
He said it gives you instant energy. It might not
work but it gives me a psychological edge. I didnt
cramp up once (Saturday), said Frogge.
Word on the Platte County bench was that the reason
Nick Jaros changed his jersey number at halftime from
6 to 39 was to confuse the Salem defense because they
were keying on him. Jaros swears that it was because his
jersey ripped under the right armpit. My dad tried
to sew it up but hes no Martha Stewart, you know,
Matt Prouts 91-yard run should solidify his
position on the Missouri Class 3 All-State team. Once
I get over 70 yards I usually die
but not today,
said a happy Prout. The play called in the huddle was
Jets 34. I just read the right tackle
and there was a huge hole that opened up, said Prout.
I really only had one guy to beat but what was he,
a safety? Those are the sized guys I like to have a hand
on me. Ive been caught two or three times in the
past and I was thinking, Im not getting caught
this time! About the 30- or 40-yard-line I turned
it up a gear and said to myself, No one is taking
this one away.
Prout is thinking about furthering his education
at an Ivy League school and maybe playing in the Harvard/Yale
game some day. But my family would like me to go
to Missouri, admitted Prout. The senior carries
a 4.0 GPA and will graduate at the top of his class. I
cant think of a better ambassador for the state
of Missouri to send back east.
Coach Sherman has worn the same pair of faded black
sweat pants for all three Platte County state title wins
at the Dome. Theyre all ripped up, my underwears
showing but Im staying with them, said Sherman.
Platte Countys first and only punt of the
game came with 5:42 left in the fourth quarter. When you
consider that this was the state championship game and
not just another regular-season rollover, that is quite
an impressive stat.
Dont get the idea that the team heads off
to St. Louis each Thanksgiving and is housed in some posh
hotel setting. The Missouri State High School Association
pays for only 15 rooms for each team that qualifies for
the Show-Me Bowl. The Pirates brought about 65 players,
coaches and staff members. We had four and five
kids to a room, said Coach Sherman. My fat
ass was sleeping on the floor (Friday) night and (Greg)
Jaros slept in a chair.
Yes, that was Tom Morgan you saw on the Pirate
sideline in St. Louis. He retired to central Florida five
years ago after serving Platte County as a teacher and
coach for 32 years. I missed the last two (title
games) but I had a free three-day weekend this year,
said Morgan. So I booked a flight as soon as they
beat Seneca. Tom had been following the Pirates
progress all season on the Internet.
The Pirates postgame feed included 70 pizzas
for the players and coaches. Everybody should get
their own pizza, cracked Coach Sherman.
Jeff Humburg, Plate Countys vibrant assistant
coach, wants the players to know that he also played in
the state tourney when he was in high school near Cocoa
Beach, Florida. I played at Merritt Island High
School, said Humburg. Its where Cape
Kennedy is. We went to state my senior year and took on
Fort Lauderdale Dillon. They kicked us, 40 - 14. Isaac
Bruce was on that team and they had three other guys who
are playing in the NFL right now. I weighed maybe 210
and played defensive end. Since Humburg played the
same position as Travis Frogge, I asked him if he would
have started in front of Frogge if the two had been teammates.
I gotta say yes, said a smiling Humburg. He
then quickly added that Frogge is a very special player.
Players like him dont come around very often,
Quotes of Note
We run out on the Astroturf and its
all nice and 24 minutes later were getting thumped.
The scheme works. We can move the football. We
just need to attack them one play at a time.
Bill Schuchardt, Salems head coach, during his halftime
speech to his team as the Pirates led 21-0 at the half
Thats what they said after we won it
in 2000. Its somebody elses turn to step up
Chip Sherman, when asked if a four-peat was too much to
shoot for in 2003
Those (Platte County) running backs are man-childs.
And they are tough to stop. If anybody knows how to stop
them, let me know.
Bill Schuchardt, Salems head coach, during the postgame
GH: I like Schuchardt. I dont agree with his one-dimensional
offensive philosophy but I like the way he treats his
players and how willing he is to answer tough questions.
(Platte County) hit a lot harder and were
quicker than anybody we played against but I wasnt
a bit scared of them.
Tyler Dillon, Salems senior quarterback
GH: Schuchardt introduced the 6-foot-4 Dillon as the
best option quarterback in the state of Missouri.
Remember his name. I wouldnt be too surprised to
see him show up in the MIAA next year.
Its kinda hot in here for it. Im
about to take it off because Im about to roast.
Dr. Carl Myers, Pirates team trainer, on wearing
his lucky Platte County Class of 1968 letterman jacket
inside the Dome
GH: Myers claims the Pirates have never lost a game since
he started wearing his vintage jacket on the sidelines.
Come to think of it, they havent lost since a whole
helluva lot of things!
Im hoping that when I have kids I can
bring them back to Platte County and show them my picture
on the wall as a state champion.
Travis Frogge, Platte Countys All-State defensive
GH: Frogge said hes going to wait and consider
my options, as far as picking a college football
scholarship. Hes talked to both Kansas and Missouri.
Some think Frogges height (6-foot-1) might keep
him from turning many Division-I programs heads.
Mark my words, this kid can play in the Big 12. If Im
Mark Mangino, Im offering Frogge a full ride today
before the rest of the conference finds out just how good
When youre waiting your turn to play
and youre not the one getting the ball at the time,
youve got to let that feeling build inside of you
and be your motivator. Then, when you get your chance,
youve got to just break it open and do whatever
you can. Ive been waiting for my chance for several
years. When I first came into the program, most of the
coaches wanted me to play in the line. But Coach Sherman
was kinda my guy. He made sure that I was a fullback.
I loved blocking for Zach (Sherman) last year but I couldnt
wait to get my chance to run the ball.
Matt Prout, Platte Countys senior running back
GH: If youre an underclassmen or a youngster who
wants to play on the varsity some day, clip out Prouts
words and tack them to your bulletin board. State champions
dont just roll out of bed and run 91-yards in the
Show-Me Bowl. They work hard for years, fail a lot, get
disappointed but most of all they never give up
on their dream.
Our juniors are real athletic. Well
put people in different positions and see how it goes.
Our main goal is always to win the state championship
and it will be again next year.
Chris Hawkins, Platte Countys junior quarterback
Its gonna be tough on everybody when
Platte County does finally lose a game. Its gonna
be real tough on the kids because they havent tasted
it. If we had lost this game it would have been devastating
in that locker room. But I think every coach would have
told these kids to keep their heads held high because
they are winners.
Steve Myers, Platte County assistant coach
Weve got a thing called the Polar Bear
Club. Its the weight room in the winter time for
kids who arent out for a winter sport.
Coach Steve Myers, Platte County assistant coach
This year it was the Bulls-eye
Tour, because our eyes were on the prize the whole
time. Last year it was the Come Get Some Tour
and the year before that it was the Kick Ass Tour.
Coach Jeff Humburg, the 31-year-old Platte County assistant
Not that were all looking or anything
like that, but we all have goals of our own. I want to
be a head coach just like Coach (Chuck) Siler does. Ive
got two young boys and we all live in Atchison, Kansas.
I would ultimately like to be the head coach there and
coach my boys just like Chip did.
Coach Jeff Humburg
We would support them 100 per cent. They
are loyal, theyre trustworthy, theyre good,
good men. When their time comes and they want to venture
out and become a head coach somewhere, they have my total
support and my total loyalty. I will help them any way
I possibly can.
Coach Chip Sherman, on any assistant coaches who decide
to apply for a head coaching position elsewhere
Weve been together a long time. The
truth of the matter is weve just got to see what
happens. I dont want to say something thats
not true. I just want to tell you the truth. Its
just too early right now.
Coach Chip Sherman, when asked if he and Greg Jaros would
both be back next season
GH: Everything eventually comes to an end. If this is
the final chapter to the Sherman/Jaros era, it is one
heckuva way to go out. If not, lets go get number
(Dr. Pat Henley) was the superintendent who
hired me. It was an interesting interview. I dont
think they asked me a real football question the whole
time. At first I wasnt going to take the job because
they hadnt won much. But my wife wanted to raise
our kids in a small town and where our family could be
a family and I agreed with her.
Coach Chip Sherman
Everyone who has ever played football at
Platte County or cared about Platte County has a piece
of what we do. They all share in this. I really mean that.
I cant emphasize that enough. I am so proud to say
that Im a part of this and this family.
Coach Chip Sherman