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Monticello football tackles 128th year

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The Monticello football program embarks on its 128th season in 2019.

The team has come a long way since its debut game back in 1891.

In their premiere game, which was one of the earliest football games in Minnesota history, they battled a familiar rival – Elk River. The final score was 29-0.

The team has only improved since then and has made a few remarkable feats on their journey.

The team has experienced wins, losses, changed stadiums, changed mascots, set records, broken those records and even made it to state.

Jason Telecky has been coaching football at Monticello High School for 19 years now – 21 years if you include his years coaching at the junior high level – and has seen the Magic through a lot.

He originally started at the school to teach history, and then he slowly made his way onto the football program.

“I’ve coached every age, every level,” Telecky said. “I think it’s really helped me to be a better head coach. It all starts with a base. The younger kids are running the same base plays: trap, power, passing tree, they’re all the same, we (the varisty team) might just make it look a little fancier.”

That’s another great thing about Monticello football, the program starts so young and continues to develop the athletes’ skills as they get older and hopefully go on to play varsity ball, and then onto the collegiate level.

Coach Telecky reminisced about the great players he’s seen in his years at Monticello.

He has even had the privilege of seeing one of his former players rise up to become a part of the Monticello coaching staff.

Nathan Zillmer joined the coaching staff for the 2019-20 football season.

“Going into my eleventh season here, one of the junior high coaches we hired this year is a former player of mine. He knows the system so well and now he’s back coaching,” Telecky said. “I think those are the kind of things that make this program so successful.”

Football is something that has always been important to Monti’s head coach, but he thinks it’s crucial to be aware of the fact that “they’re just kids” and “football isn’t everything.”

Telecky talked about his eyes being opened to that truth because of his job as a high school teacher in Monticello.

He’s aware when they have bad days, when the big tests are coming up, when kids are distracted because of drama at school and when sometimes, football isn’t the top priority.

When he sees it effecting his athletes in practice he says this, “Hey, I know this is going on, let’s take two minutes, get it out of our heads, get back on football, and when we have it accomplished we’ll get you out of here and you can go home.”

Going into this season, Telecky has one thing on his mind, and that’s a section championship.

That’s one thing that the team has fallen short on. Section 6 is a tough section with big schools and state qualifiers.

“So that’s our goal, he said. “It would be really nice to survive that Saturday and play for a section championship. If you can win this section, you can play in U.S. Bank Stadium.”

As for players to watch for: Thomas Van Culin broke the receiving record last year and he’s back, Calvin Schmitz is the second leading rusher, second leading rusher, and is just a junior, Sam Valor is a safety and running back to keep your eye on, Alex Tack has a scholarship offer already and will play defense and offense for Monticello this year, and many more that will make the Magic fun to watch this season.

Telecky knows this team has potential and he’s invested.

“These kids know that I would run through a wall for them and I feel like they would run into a wall for me,” Telecky said of his growing dedication to the Monti football program.

Monticello’s first game is on Friday, Aug. 30th against conference newcomer, Becker.

Reach Jessie Meyen at

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