COLUMBIA — The finality of the Hickman football team’s season-ending loss was evident on the Kewpies' faces as tears flowed and hugs were exchanged Friday night on a windy LeMone Field.
“This team means everything to me,” junior wide receiver Wesley Leftwich said after the game. “It’s our family.”
Hickman fell 28-9 to rival Jefferson City even though the Jays (8-2) were unable to complete a pass. Both teams battled strong, gusting winds that made even routine passing plays difficult.
Hickman coach Jason Wright said the Kewpies (4-6, 1-2 in district play) showed strong character all season but missed opportunities to finish with a better record.
“I felt we squandered chances against Zumwalt West and Park Hill,” Wright said. “Hopefully we can learn from this season and be ready to go for next year. We’ve got 35 juniors returning next year. That’s a start.”
After getting off to a 2-4 start, it looked like the Kewpies could be in for a long season, but the team never quit and was still playing for a playoff spot in their final game.
“I’m going to remember the adversity we overcame all season,” Leftwich said while choking back tears.
Given the outpouring of emotion when the Kewpies realized their season had come to an end, it's likely that the heartbreak of the final game will stay in their memories for a while.