He’s not the first player with the last name to play the position at Countryside, but he’s got his Cougars back in the playoffs for the first time since 2011 and as a district champions–their eighth since 2000. He’s Trent Chmelik and he’s thrown for over 4,000 yards in his career while at C-Side and could eclipse a school-record for passing touchdowns that his older brother Jimbo set from 2007-09 for the Cougars.
His impact has been made by one word–consistency. It’s a word the staff at C-Side understands along with balance. As a team the last three years, the Cougars have averaged over 300 yards of offense per game, and have been 12 yards or fewer from being perfectly balanced in that total production via run and the pass. In 2013, they averaged 162 passing, with 167 rushing. In 2014, they averaged 180 passing and 178 rushing for the season and this season–it has been much of the same. The Cougars are averaging through ten games this season 193 passing yards and 181 yards rushing.
Chmelik’s production as an individual reflects that same consistency that the team has achieved. His sophomore season in nine games, he completed 41 of his 68 passes for 588 yards along with four touchdowns and an interception. His junior season was a coming-out-of-his-shell moment completing 55-percent of his passes (119-of-215) for 1,801 yards with 12 touchdowns and 8 interceptions. This season, he’s completed 62-percent of his passes (130-of-209) for 1,907 yards and has been extremely efficient with the football–throwing 18 touchdowns to just four interceptions. He’s even contributed with his legs this season rushing for 9 TD’s on 63 carries–good for nearly 300 yards in total.
The comparisons are inevitable when you take control of the helm of ship that’s been steered by a sibling. Enter older brother Jimbo who was a 3-year starter from 2007-2009. Here’s where the checklist begins. Jimbo won 26 games as a starter for Countryside–Trent has won 22 in his career. Jimbo won a district championship–now Trent has one of his own. Jimbo’s 37 passing TD’s are a school-record. Trent’s just three touchdowns away from tying that record and four from owning that himself.
The Cougars face Tampa Bay Tech this week in the first round of the Class 7A-Region 3 playoffs. It’s a rematch of a 2010 bruiser that the Cougars won 34-21 before losing to Plant in a quagmire 21-13 in the region finals. The last time Countryside was in the playoffs, they suffered a heartbreaking 28-27 loss to Venice. They enter the playoffs with a 9-1 record and as the District 7A-10 Champions.