Class 4 State Championship football

MICDS wide receiver Foster Bundy (left) recovers an onside kick after the live ball touched Webb City's Brent Greek (right) in fourth quarter action during the MSHSAA Class 4 state championship game between MICDS and Webb City Friday, Nov. 25, 2011 at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, Mo. MICDS tied the game on the ensuing possession. Photo by Chris Lee,

Chris Lee

Foster Bundy didn’t know why the ball was headed his way. When the MICDS wide receiver looked at the Webb City defense, he saw nothing but trouble. The Cardinals had two safeties and a defensive back in his neighborhood, and there was no way quarterback Thomas Militello was going to sling the ball his way in such a big moment. Trailing Webb City 42-35 with time running down in the Class 4 state championship game last Friday at the Edward Jones Dome, the Rams needed a touchdown to keep their dream of a state title alive.

Sending the ball into what amounted to triple coverage was madness. Then again, Bundy has found a way to make incredible plays in the tightest of circumstances all season. He caught two touchdown passes within 80 seconds of one another in MICDS’s thrilling 56-55 district game against Ladue. In the title game, Bundy recovered the onside kick that set up the current drive as MICDS was marching for the score.

On the season, he caught 56 passes for 1,036 yards and 15 touchdowns. He kicked 59 extra points and was one of the biggest playmakers on a team loaded with talent. So it’s not that nutty to think Militello would have been looking to get the 5-foot-9, 165-pound Bundy the ball. It’s kind of nutty to think he’d try it with as many Webb City defenders draping his standout wideout. But Militello saw something no one else did and fired away.

As Bundy looked back the ball was headed through the air 40 yards toward him. “I have no clue why he threw it to me,” Bundy, 17, says. “When the ball went up, I lost it in the lights.”

Bundy instinctually reached up to grab the ball but wound up tipping it up the air. As the Webb City defenders converged on him, one of them actually pushed him into the ball. He juggled it two or three times within the blink of an eye and somehow managed to haul it in, tie the game at 42-42 and give MICDS a chance at the ring. “I was like, You’ve got to be kidding me,” Bundy says of making the dramatic catch. “I can’t put into words how pumped I was.”

It was a short-lived celebration. Webb City (15-0) would score two unanswered touchdowns in the last four minutes and win its 10th state championship with a 56-42 win over MICDS (14-1). The Cardinals are one of three teams with at least 10 titles. Jefferson City (10) and Valle Catholic of Ste. Genevieve (11) are the others.

The display put on offensively by both teams rewrote the record book. MICDS and Webb City combined to score the most points in a championship game (98) and tally the most yards (1,048). Militello broke the title game record for most passes completed (36) and tied the record for most touchdown passes (5) and pass attempts (46). He threw for 415 yards and no interceptions.

The Rams were devastated in the aftermath of the game. After overcoming what they considered a subpar 2010 with a 5-5 record and no playoffs, there was little to be excited about in those first few moments after their season came to an end. “A lot of guys were crying their eyes out,” Bundy says. “Hugging my coaches, that was the hardest part for me. That’s when I broke down.”

Bundy says it still hasn’t totally worked its way through his head. The idea that his football could be finished is something he’s not ready to deal with quite yet. “It still hasn’t hit me, that I might not play football the rest of my life,” Bundy says.

This was just Bundy’s second season as a receiver. He was a running back until his sophomore season. He didn’t play much as a junior but busted his hump in the offseason. “I didn’t know I had a chance to start,” Bundy says. “I just worked all summer.” It was the kind of work that nearly hauled in a state championship.