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Dan Tlapek sat under a canopy and rang the sweat out of his shorts. It wasn’t just hot on the artificial turf at Lindenwood University. It was the oven that’s behind the barbecue in the back of hell’s kitchen. Hot would have been pleasant. This was torture.
Dan Tlapek froze. He stood there, on the sideline, as the madness unfolded around him. Bodies came rolling over the green artificial turf and engulfed his teammates like a tidal wave. They were cheering, clapping, whistling, high-fiving and celebrating. Tlapek held his spot and watched. He was in shock, awed by what just transpired. People he’d never met, young and old, ran up to him, told him congratulations and asked for photos with him.
November 11, 2011 St. Louis U. High kicker Dan Tlapek (right) gets a hug from holder Paul Simon after he hit a game-winning 47-yard field goal with 1:04 to play in Friday's Class 6 quarterfinal game against visiting DeSmet. Paul Kopsky photo