Cougars put together memorable 2021 campaign

Ben Stoterau

A strong 2021 campaign for the Cedar Mountain Cougars ended just shy of a State Tournament berth and a runner-up finish in Section 2A-9 Man playoffs this fall.

The Cougars started somewhat slow but found their stride late in the season, winning three straight and upsetting top-seed Hancock in the Section semifinals before falling to RCW in the title game to finish 6-5 overall.

Offensively the Cougars were led by the quartet of Nick and Cooper Freitag, Caden Kleinschmidt and Matt Zeug.

Kleinschmidt was a big play waiting to happen as he led the Cougars in all-purpose yardage with 677 receiving yards, 313 kick-return yards and 263 rushing yards. Despite being the attention of the opposing team’s defense, he managed to haul in a team-high 51 receptions for 677 yards and five touchdowns. He also added 26 carries for 263 yards (10.1 ypc) and three touchdowns. As a three-year starter and captain he came up big in the postseason and finished a solid career with 123 catches for 1,637 yards and 10 touchdowns and had 419 rushing yards and seven TDs. Defensively he finished with 52 tackles (41 solo), 2 1/2 tackles-for-loss.

Caden Kleinschmidt breaks free for a long touchdown run against RCW.

Senior Nick Freitag had a strong season as well playing wide receiver and quarterback.  He finished with 46 receptions for 462 yards and eight TDs, had 49 carries for 391 yards and five scores and was 14-of-21 passing for 194 yards and three touchdowns. For his career, he finished with 100 catches for 1,149 yards and 17 TDs, added 62 carries for 440 yards and six TDs and was 17-of-24 passing for 236 yards and four scores. Defensively he finished with 60 tackles (38 solo), a tackle-for-loss and a team-high 21 pass break-ups, two interceptions and a fumble recovery.

Nick Freitag
Matt Zeug

Senior Matt Zeug was a stalwart on defense and also led the Cougars in rushing. The three-year starting linebacker and captain led the team with 130 tackles (68 solo), two sacks and 11 tackles-for-loss. For his career he would finish with 204 tackles (123 solo) and 15 tackles-for-loss. As a running back he led the team with 524 rushing yards to go along with four TDs and would finish with 952 yards for his career.

Kleinschmidt, Nick Freitag and Zeug were all named first-team All-Conference.

Cooper Freitag was the Cougars starting quarterback and had a solid season. He would finish 99-of-172 passing for 1,082 yards, 10 TDs and five interceptions. On the ground he added 371 yards and a team-high seven TDs. Defensively he finished with 33 tackles (19 solo), one sack, four tackles-for-loss and two pass break-ups.

Senior linebacker Tanner Mathiowetz had a strong campaign, finishing with 103 tackles (49 solo), two sacks, two tackles-for-loss, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. He was also a key cog on the offensive line at right guard.

Maverick Weber was third on the team in tackles with 102 (44 solo) to go along with a sack, three tackles-for-loss and four pass break-ups. Offensively he had 14 carries for 57 yards and a score and added five receptions for 66 yards.

Mathiowetz and Weber earned Honorable Mention All-Conference honors.

Lane Guggisberg finished with 41 tackles (26 solo), 12 pass break-ups and four interceptions and four fumble recoveries.

Dante Otto added 36 tackles (22 solo), a sack, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and 7 1/2 tackles-for-loss