For the Tribune
Conner Klakamp credits a team effort to Seymour winning its opening football game of the season last Friday at South Dearborn, and he says it will take teamwork to continue to post victories.
“It’s going to take a lot of hard work, and everybody working together, and doing what we’re coached to do,” he said. “I’m excited for Friday’s game. We only have four home games this year and those are something I’ll remember for the rest of my life.”
Klakamp has been playing football since elementary school.
“I love how you can be aggressive and not get in trouble for it, and I just love the unity it creates between you and your teammates,” Klakamp said.”There’s nothing like it. I played basketball and baseball when I was little, but nothing compares to the brotherhood you make with football and the weight room in the early mornings and stuff like that.
Conner has spent a lot of time on football fields with his father, Jeff, who is a freshman coach and is working with tight ends at the varsity level this fall.
“He coached me in elementary school, and he helped out with middle school and he helped out with high school, too,” Klakamp said. “It’s always awesome to spend time with my dad because he’s taught me everything about football and brought me up in the sport and stuff.”
This season he is playing tight end and fullback. Klakamp lines up in front of Nathan O’Mara and helps open holes for Owls tailback.
He said the team had to learn a new offense when Mike Kelly became head coach at year ago.
“Basically, the offense is a lot different from (Coach Josh) Shattuck’s offense,” Klakamp said. “Kelly’s offense is more the pro style, what you’d run in college and the NFL.
“I take a lot of pride in my blocking because it makes the team better, and helps Nathan get yards. A lot of times I get the linebackers if I’m in the I. But if I’m in the wing I’ll take an end, or go out to a linebacker. I usually block the linebackers and the ends.”
Klakamp said he uses different technique in run-blocking and pass-blocking.
“Run-blocking is where you get nasty and you play real tough, and pass-blocking is more like a skill, kind of a finesse thing,” he said. “Run-blocking is more aggressive. We do a lot of outside runs, outside zones. I love hitting people real hard and putting them on their back. I go in at tight end quite a bit and I catch short passes.”
Klakamp is 5-11 and 220, and said he has gained six pounds from last year.
“The new weight room has helped a lot,” Klakamp said. “We’re in here a lot getting better every day, especially with the zero hour in the summer. The new weight room has been a key to our success so far.”
The senior talked about the importance of practice.
“In tough moments you sink to the level of your training,” Klakamp said. “That’s what I believe and that’s what coach Kelly believes. How hard you work at practice usually correlates to how hard you work on the field. If you’re busting it every day in practice you’re usually going to have the same effect on the game. If you don’t give it your all in practice, then it shows some laziness during the game, so you’ve got to give it your all every single second.
“We get grade sheets every week on how we play and that is huge on player development and learning on what to fix and how well you’re doing in your coaches eyes, and what to improve on.”
He has enjoyed being a student at SHS.
“I love how small it is, and everybody knows each other,” Klakamp said. “The teachers here want you to succeed. They know your parents and they know a lot about you. It’s just such a community atmosphere and they want you to succeed which is what I appreciate about Seymour.
“I’ll remember all the friends I’ve made and my teachers and coaches and what they’ve done for me. They’ve done a lot for everybody around here and I appreciate it a lot.”
[sc:pullout-title pullout-title=”Klakamp file” ][sc:pullout-text-begin]
Name: Conner Klakamp
School: Seymour High School
Parents: Melanie and Jeff Klakamp
Siblings: Cam, Curry
Sports: football 4 years
Athletic highlights: JV captain sophomore year
Organizations: Latin Club
Plans after high school: attend college
Favorite food: steak
Favorite TV show: March Madness
Favorite musicians: Drake
Favorite movie: Step Brothers
Favorite team: Indiana Hoosiers