Tom Mountin had lots of talent. And he was tough, durable and highly competitive. He could also throw a football.

He tossed them around the Dunn-St. Croix Conference for four years, produced a lot of victories and put himself, Elmwood and Northwest Wisconsin football in the national spotlight.

"He was really good throwing the ball," said Tom Bauer, who coached Mountin his freshman and sophomore years. "But just as impressive was his leadership ability."

By the time he was done, he had splattered his name across the national record book.

Mountin died last week of Huntington's Disease at the age of 49 in Red Wing, Minn. His death revived many memories of his aerial heydey more than 30 years ago.

When he was done, Mountin had thrown more passes (1,008) and completed more (535) than any previous high school passer in high school annals. Among those he put behind him were such familiar names Joe Ferguson and Pat Haden.

At the time, the National High School Sports Record Book also listed him fourth in passing yards (6,388) and eighth in completion percentage (53.1). His tosses resulted in 63 touchdowns.

"He has good quickness with his feet, a quick release and a strong arm," Curt Weber, who coached Mountin his junior and senior years said at the time. "His records are a combination of his hard work and the system."

After attending a clinic at Minnesota, Bauer put in the new run-and-shoot offense almost out of neccessity for the 1980 season with Mountin fresh out of grade school his choice to lead the attack.

He started the first game his freshman year and every game for four years.

"He was so mature as a young kid and the kids responded to him as the quarterback," Bauer said. "He took control at such an early age and never let up."

It didn't take long for the 5-11, 165-pounder to gain attention. He was named second-team All-Northwest quarterback as a sophomore and junior and moved to the first team as a senior.

"He started as a freshman and threw a lot," Bauer said. "He was really good."

In his first two years under Bauer, he passed for 2,961 yards and 31 touchdowns.

As a junior, Mountin led Elmwood to the Dunn-St. Croix Conference title and a 14-13 win over Osceola in the playoffs before the Raiders lost to eventual state champion Osseo-Fairchild. He passed for 2,097 yards and 19 scores for the season.

With defenses stacked against him as a senior in 1983, he went on to throw for 1,330 yards and nine touchdowns and ran for 10 more in leading Elmwood to a 6-3 record.

In setting the pass marks, Mountin had outstanding receivers, the most notable being Jeff Brunner, a 1982 All-Northwest selection.

Mountin was preceded as a standout player at Elmwood by older brother Jeff.

Although Mountin's records have been surpassed, many by passers under Gerry Uchytil at Chippewa Falls McDonell, he was the one who set the standards.

"He was fabulous," Bauer said. "One of a kind, a great kid."