Star player baffles coach, makes teammate's dream come true
BAXTER, Iowa - The Collins-Maxwell/Baxter Raiders have gone from four wins last year, to a 9-0 record, which is best in school history. The Raiders truly play for each other.
KCCI reports: Good football teams usually have a star player like Bryce Kemp, the CMB receiver.
Coach Rob Luther said Kemp's history includes scoring kick returns, interception returns and catching and running touchdowns.
Good football teams also have a player like lineman Clayton Weltha.
"Clayton is our senior captain, vocal leader, lifeline of team and just a great guy," Luther said.
"He is just one of those likable people that everybody loves," Kemp said. "He's been a lineman his whole life. He does the dirty work and never gets credit."
Weltha said that back in his Pee Wee league he did get the ball once as tight end, but "that didn't go so well for me."
Days before Friday's regular season finale, Luther had the team practice a play with all 11 seniors on the field at once with Weltha scoring a touchdown.
"His dream his whole life has been to score a touchdown," Kemp said.
Then came Friday's Senior Night, and Weltha got his chance to run the ball into the end zone. Except when he got the ball, something happened: He blew it.
CMB was beating Centerville 30-0, and Weltha had four straight chances to score from inside the 5-yard line.
"I got stuffed. The adrenaline was going and I was scared," Weltha said. "I didn't die but I didn't get the touchdown. My heart melted."
Luther saw it differently.
"I told them, 'Hey, you had your chance. Great job ... no big deal,'" Luther said.
It was a big deal to Kemp, though, who has been friends with Weltha since second grade.
There was still time. The CMB defense forced Centerville to punt and Kemp was waiting for the chance to get his friend back on the goal line to score.
Luther recalled Kemp making a long-distance run to the end zone.
"I thought he was going to walk in the touchdown," Weltha said.
Instead of running into the end zone, Kemp slid in at full speed, hitting his knee on the ground just one yard out from a touchdown.
"My reaction was the same as everyone else," said Weltha. "I'm like, 'What's he doing?'"
Luther at first didn't understand Kemp's play.
"Next thing I know it dawned on me," Luther said.
"He says, 'That was for you. Let's go get one now.' I was like, 'All right. Let's go do it,'" Weltha said.
This time it took just one rush and then, touchdown.
"It was a great feeling. The greatest I have ever had. It was pretty awesome," Weltha said.
The crowd went wild.
"I was doing that for Clayton," Kemp said. "He's been my friend forever. I wanted that for him."
And that lineman who went unnoticed?
"I have been walking around the hallway and I hear, 'Nice touchdown!'" said Weltha. "I get great compliments."
Weltha found much more than the end zone.
"That's a true brother right there," said Weltha. "I can't thank him enough."Also on AOL:
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