Carson Klinger is the man.
I could end this column right here and that would tell you most of what you need to know about Montesano’s road win over Sequim on Friday, but because I love the sound of my own voice I’m going to go into a bit more detail.
First of all, just in case any residents of our town of less than 4,000 people were hiding under a rock this weekend and didn’t hear about the junior running back’s stellar performance, Klinger scored seven touchdowns.
In one game.
Yeah. You read that right.
For the second time in as many games, Klinger eclipsed 100 yards on the ground before halftime. He finished with 229 yards on 21 carries, five rushing touchdowns and one touchdown reception. He also ran a kickoff back for a score.
Klinger was the beneficiary of some gaping holes created by his offensive line and some solid play fakes by Bulldog quarterback Trevor Ridgway, but also repeatedly displayed great vision and running instincts as well as impressive speed and quickness.
Despite his killer on-field performance, I was perhaps even more impressed with something Klinger did post-game.
To supply a little bit of back-story, when I cover or photograph a game I often Tweet updates. Since this contest took place more than two hours away from Montesano, I made an extra effort to update regularly so those who couldn’t make the trip still could know what was going on in the game.
In the third quarter, I literally lost count of how many times Klinger had scored. I had to go back and look at my Tweets to figure it out. Those of us who were doing Montesano math had to take both hands out of our pockets to count all of his scoring plays.
After Klinger scored his seventh touchdown, I Tweeted “The story of the game is Carson Klinger, no question.”
Later on Friday night, Klinger somehow stumbled upon my Tweet. He took the time to reply with a shout out to his teammates: “Couldn’t do it without my line and my great back field. Great team win.”
Honestly, this is a classic Bulldog football player answer. I can’t tell you how many times I got a similar quote from Kylar Prante, Logan Truax or Jake Herzog last season. Coach Jensen has these kids trained well.
But put yourself in Klinger’s shoes for just a minute.
How easy would it have been for this high school junior to sit back and bask in the glory after putting on the performance of his life?
In a town where high school football means so much, he was king for a day. How easy would it have been for this teenage kid to read a Tweet like that and think “Yeah, I’m pretty much amazing?”
Klinger saw all of his efforts, his practice and his studying pay off with an incredible performance on the field, but instead of allowing others to talk about how great he is, he went out of his way to make sure his teammates got their due credit for the part they played in his big night.
This kind of response shows a maturity beyond his years, but more importantly, it shows a young man who has bought into the team concept of football.
You win as a team and you lose as a team. Teams with players who understand that concept tend to do the former.
I have only spoken with Klinger face-to-face maybe two or three times, but I am incredibly impressed with this young man and extremely excited to watch him play football the next couple of years.
I could write about a wider variety of East County football topics, but I have decided that when you score seven touchdowns in one game and I get to see it with my own eyes, you get your own column, unencumbered by any other filler topics.
Congratulations, Carson. Job well done.