As a football player, Brady Kuntz was raised by the Fleming Wildcats

Stratton/Liberty Fleming football

(Ismael Gomez)

Ever since he was little, Brady Kuntz has been running around the Fleming football program. When his older brother was playing for the Wildcats, Kuntz served as the water boy for the team which would earn him the nickname "Liquid."

Years later, he became crucial to the team as a standout player on two state championship teams. Kuntz wasn't raised by a pack of wolves, but he was accepted at a young age by a destruction of Wildcats. And they taught him to be destructive.

A defensive player at his core, Kuntz helped the Wildcats claim a second straight 6-man football title and won the classification's player of the year in the process. When thinking back to August, the thought of either achievements coming to fruition seemed far-fetched.

"I knew we were going to be good," Kuntz said. "It just shocked me how good of a team we were. And being the MVP of 6-man, that surprises me a lot."

Maybe it shouldn't. Fleming felt like it went into the 2020 season a bit under the radar. After the Wildcats beat Stratton/Liberty to claim the 6-man title, several seniors moved on from the program and the Wildcats felt as though no one believed they could win state again.

But if Kuntz's energy on the field could be seen by everyone in the state, it would be no surprise to see the Wildcats once again perform at that championship level. It had been something Kuntz had been dreaming of since slinging around liquid for the varsity players as a kid.

"He's been around (the program) for so long," Fleming coach John King said. "He's been such a big part of this for all these years."

Stratton/Liberty Fleming football

(Lance Wendt/wendt5280.com)

Kuntz was a vital part of the Widlcats offense as he led the team with 293 receiving yards and seven touchdowns. But his heart is always on the defensive side of the ball and that's where his true ability on the field tends to show.

He totaled 88 tackles and led the team with six sacks on the year. With just six players on the field, that production tends to come from a middle linebacker but Kuntz did it from the defensive line.

"I like to do the hitting," Kuntz said. "We've had a great middle linebacker (Chris Goss) the last two years and it came down to him and me for the best defensive player on the team."

Offensively, Kuntz had normally played the running back position but was kept primarily on the defensive side of the ball in 2019. He was back on offense this year, but as an offensive lineman.

"I guess I surprised everyone with how well I can catch," Kuntz said.

It all came down to what King knew he could do with his standout senior. Having known the kid for nearly a decade, King had every bit of confidence that he would succeed in any situation in which he could make an impact.

And Kuntz proved him right. And by doing so, he made the 2020 season one that will be memorable not just for the coach or the community, but for the players and for the rest of their lives.

"Everyone is going to remember this year," King said. "This has been an extremely bright spot in a year that has had very few positive moments for anybody."

For a kid that went from slinging water to catching touchdown passes and making big plays on defense, the memories will stick around the program forever.

Stratton/Liberty Fleming football

(Lance Wendt/wendt5280.com)