SYCAMORE - The last time Fremont St. Joseph Central Catholic won an outright Midland Athletic League football championship, Zack Yeckley was barely big enough to pick up a football.
Now he's throwing the ball around with the best of them. Actually, he is the best his school has ever seen.
Yeckley tossed two more touchdown passes to give him 29 for the season and he became SJCC's all-time leader in passing completions, yards and touchdowns for both season and career.
In the process, he led the Crimson Streaks to a 33-8 win over Mohawk Friday night. Two years after they had to share the league championship because of a final-night loss here, the Streaks are all alone at the top at 7-0.
"This is the best feeling ever," Yeckley said after he completed 9-of-16 passes for 151 yards during an all-night rain. "But the only record I'm worried about is 9-1 and taking it to whoever comes to Don Paul Stadium next Friday night in our playoff game."
St. Joseph was bounced 43-14 by Division V playoff qualifier Liberty-Benton in the season opener and then rattled off nine straight wins.
Fremont St. Joe 33,
St. Joe76137 - 33
Mohawk0008 - 8
SJ - Alex Veleba 42 pass from Zack Yeckley (Corey Durbin kick), 9:41
SJ - Yeckley 3 run (pass failed), 6:14
SJ - Marcus Kerr 55 run (pass failed), 6:38
SJ - Jordan Sessler 41 pass from Yeckley (Durbin kick), 5:30
SJ - Luke Stierwalt 1 run (Durbin kick), 11:08
M - Drew Loose 34 run (Logan Stillberger run), 1:33
RUSHING: St. Joseph - Kerr 22-115; Yeckley 9-16; Cameron Wasson 2-1; Mitchell Gonya 2-1; Nick Magro 2-(minus 1); Stierwalt 1-1. Mohawk - Loose 16-69; Grant Price 8-26; Gunnar Johnson 7-12; Stillberger 2-(minus 6).
PASSING: St. Joseph - Yeckley 9-16-0-151. Mohawk - Loose 1-11-1-25; Johnson 0-1-0-0.
RECEIVING: St. Joseph - Sessler 5-65; Jake Yeckley 2-30; Veleba 1-42; Kerr 1-14. Mohawk - Johnson 1-25.
"This one is for the kids. They've done all the work," St. Joe coach Scott Knisely said of the team's first outright MAL title since 1996. "To come back and win our last nine games and, more importantly, our No. 1 goal, win the league championship is special. It's been 15 years since we've won this and it's a very special thing to win."
Despite the margin of victory, however, the clincher wasn't all that easy to attain.
The Streaks scored on the game's opening possession when Yeckley tossed a sideline screen pass to Alex Veleba, who raced 42 yards for the touchdown and a 7-0 lead with 9:41 still to play in the first period.
The Warriors threw a counter punch but didn't quite make full contact.
Quarterback Drew Loose broke off a 39-yard run for a first down on the St. Joe 28. Loose and Grant Price traded shots into the line until the Warriors had a first-and-goal from the 6.
But the Streaks held their ground. St. Joe defenders had 13 stops for minus-yardage, including two on this opening drive. On fourth down from the 3, junior lineman Corey Durbin threw Loose for a 2-yard loss.
Mohawk didn't post a major threat again until late in the fourth.
"That was a very strong defensive stand, especially after we got some momentum by going down and scoring," Knisely said.
The Streaks grabbed a 13-0 lead at the half on Yeckley's 3-yard keeper with 6:14 to play. The score was set up by Yeckley's 25-yard screen pass to his brother, Jake.
"I thought in the first half, defensively, we were two plays from a shutout," Mohawk coach Erik Baker said.
But three big plays early in the second half allowed St. Joseph to gain control.
A moment after Mohawk's opening possession of the half stalled on the Streak 42, St. Joe running back Marcus Kerr shot through the line for a 55-yard touchdown. Kerr finished with 115 yards on 22 carries to go over 950 yards for the season.
The kickoff bounced off a Warrior front-liner and Ryan Williams recovered for the Streaks on the Mohawk 43. Three plays later, Yeckley tossed a short pass to Jordan Sessler, whose catch and run resulted in a 41-yard touchdown for a 26-0 lead with 5:30 left in the quarter.
The two scores came in a matter of 68 seconds.
"It's been a frustrating year," said Baker, whose club finished 3-7 overall and 2-5 in the league. "It always seemed like the other team was coming up with the big play when they needed it. There was a learning curve for us; we struggled with finishing."
Each team added touchdowns in the fourth quarter. St. Joe's came on Luke Stierwalt's 1-yard run to finish a 56-yard drive.
Mohawk's score came on Loose's 34-yard run to cap a 60-yard drive. Holder Logan Stillberger dropped the PAT snap, but improvised and ran around right end for a two-point conversion.
"If there is a silver lining to all this, it's that we played an awful lot of freshmen, sophomores and juniors and hopefully, they learned from the different things that happened to us this year," Baker said. "There is an awful lot of frustration.
"We've got to find a way to be in the weight room and get the most out of ourselves because that's what the people we play do," he said. "We weren't quite ready to compete sometimes from a physical standpoint. That's something we want to address."