ST. LOUIS – You’ve heard it before: You can’t win if you don’t play.
Whoever thought of that catch phrase didn’t meet Blake Tekotte.
There he was, as time wound down in Friday’s Missouri Class 6 football championship game.
Tekotte’s Hickman team had sealed its first state title in 30 years, and he had watched it all from the sideline, unable to play after a torn anterior cruciate ligament ended his senior season minutes into the team’s season opener.
And yet, as his teammates gathered at midfield to accept their state championship trophy, Tekotte could not contain his happiness.
“It’s a dream come true,” a red-eyed Tekotte said later, outside the Kewpies’ locker room. “To see all these guys come back and battle adversity at the beginning of the season, I just couldn’t be happier for them.”
Despite the injury, Tekotte continued his role as a team leader. He attended each of Hickman’s 12 games and found new ways to contribute.
“It would have been easy for Blake to wallow in his own self-pity,” Hickman coach Gregg Nesbitt said. “There’s nothing worse for a senior. But he stayed with our ball club.”
And Friday was no exception. He roamed the sideline, offering encouragement to anyone who needed it. In the fourth quarter with the game clearly in hand, Tekotte and junior quarterback Andrew Perkins embraced on the sideline: the departing senior and the future of Hickman football.