The next stop for MICDS’ two Division I football players is the podium in the McDonnell Gymnasium. Senior football stars Thomas Militello and Michael Scherer will get their diplomas and graduate and take their talents to Dartmouth College and the University of Missouri, respectively, in the fall.
With that, the books will be officially closed on their combined total of 5,095 yards this season and more than 10,000 yards throughout their respective careers.
The guy with the warmest seat is coach Josh Smith. Between now and August he’s got to find a new quarterback, a new running back, and while he’s at it, a new middle linebacker.
The two sensational seniors have been named the Co-Ladue-Frontenac Athletes of the Fall.
Off the field, these are two of the most fun-loving, polite young men any school would be lucky to have.
On the field, they terrorize opponents and were the main reasons the Rams went 14-1, just losing the Show-Me Bowl title to mighty perennial powerhouse Webb City.
They left lasting impressions.
Take Webb City’s coach John Roderique. “They are both top-notch quality kids. I know that. I saw plenty of them, and Mizzou is getting one great player (Scherer),” Roderique said.
“That quarterback (Militello) is a good, smart thinker who can make the throws. That Scherer is something else. He’s like trying to tackle a horse,” the Webb City coach said.
The offensive dandies had a year to remember. Scherer scored 28 TDs, and rushed for 1,324 yards, and 24 of those TDs were on the ground. He caught 22 passes for 370 yards, averaging 16.8 yards per catch. Defensively, he led the team with 68 solo tackles, 24 assists for 92 points with two sacks.
Militello completed 223 of 329 passes (70 percent) for 3,400 yards with 44 TDs and 9 interceptions. His QB rating was a resounding 139.87.
They traveled different paths to arrive at the private school in Ladue.
The Militello family lives in Clayton. His older brother Matt graduated from Clayton and goes to Indiana University. Thomas attended Wydown Middle School and quarterbacked the Wildcats in the eighth grade, the year the program started. His sister Caroline is a sophomore on the basketball and soccer teams at MICDS and his parents, Mark and Jackie had the family living in Japan during their youth.
The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Mark had an outstanding career of his own first at MICDS, then in the Atlantic Coast Conference at Duke University as a wide receiver.
“During summers, my dad and I would go to a field near our home and throw a lot,” Thomas said.
He’s pretty much a student of the game. He’s spent summers at quarterback camps run by the Manning family (Archie, Peyton and Eli) at Nichols State University in Louisiana and camps run by former Nebraska star Shawn Watson (coach at Louisville) and by local QB coach Skip Stitzell. By spring he will have been a four-year member of the Rams basketball team.
“I give a lot of credit to my quarterback coach Corey Nesslage. He taught me a lot of things,” Militello said.
Militello, who passed on interest by Illinois, Duke and Vanderbilt, broke into the lineup his sophomore year. The Rams had more experienced quarterbacks, Will Schierholz and Jeremiah Otey. When they were injured, Militello got his chance, taking over full-time duties his junior year.
Militello still recalls vividly the biggest hit he took during his high school career. “Two years ago in the Burroughs game, Foye Oluokun laid me out. He had a 15-yard running start, and I’ll remember that forever,” he said, still smiling.
Scherer comes from a household of athletes. His dad Joe, who became a Rams' volunteer assistant coach, played for St. Mary’s High School, Illinois State University and had a brief career as a tight end with the Atlanta Falcons. His brother Dan wrestles for Stanford University, and his younger brother Nick is a sophomore wrestler for MICDS.
The family lives off Tesson Ferry Road in South County. Joe is an accountant for Sigma Aldrich, and Dori works in the defense department at Boeing.
Joe coached Michael for 10 years starting with Junior football League in Kirkwood. “I was always big. I had to play up by two years. I once had to drop 20 pounds to remain eligible to play,” he said.
He played middle school football at St. Mary’s and attended seventh and eighth grade at Saint Louis Priory High School. “The family visited MICDS. We loved the place. The choice was easy,” he said.
MICDS coaches brought him to the varsity team his freshman year. “We don’t like to do that unless we think they are physically able and going to get a chance to play,” his coach, Josh Smith, said.
Nick Shortal tore his ACL in the Burroughs game, and Scherer, who was on the scout team and special teams, was thrust into a relief role. He started three games at outside linebacker and rushed for some 400 yards that first year. He’s been a starter ever since.
His dad took him to Gary Pinkel’s summer camp his sophomore year. Tiger coaches liked what they saw, making him an unofficial offer. “They were the first ones in. I loved the program. It was Mizzou or Stanford,” Scherer said. In July, he made it official.
Scherer figures he will start off with special teams and play linebacker at Mizzou. Could he go in on offense in short-yardage situations?
“Everything is under consideration,” Scherer said.
The loss of the two leaders is significant to Smith and the program.
“We have a major void to fill. We are blessed. It is rare to have two Division I athletes at the same time," Smith said. "They are great players, but as persons, they are even better. We will really miss their off season leadership.”
“Thomas will continue to develop in college. He’s got good foot speed, he’s got strength in his arm, and he can let the ball fly,” “He can pick up that first down running,” Smith said.
“Michael will continue to get into even better shape, and he’s such a tough kid with a very positive attitude. It’s hard to keep him out of the weight room. He has great skills and great hands. They will both be very successful at the next level,” the coach said.
Normally, the Ladue-Frontenac Patch picks one male and one female as the Athlete of the Season.
When you have championship-caliber players, the types of Thomas Militello and Michael Scherer, you simply don’t split the baby.