Class 1 champs look for first win

Friday, September 9, 2005

St. Vincent will host Park Hills tonight after losing its season opener.

St. Vincent lost in the third week of last season, then strung together 11 straight wins en route to a Class 1 state title, the school's first football championship.

The Indians' first loss came two weeks earlier this season -- St. Vincent dropped its season opener 21-9 to visiting Priory -- but St. Vincent's state hopes remain unfazed as it tries to rebound at home tonight against Park Hills Central.

"That's what you want to do -- set your goals and try to accomplish them," St. Vincent coach Keith Winkler said. "These first couple of games are nonconference, so you get to learn about your team."

Winkler and his staff learned quite a bit from the team's loss to Class 3 Priory. While the score did not go St. Vincent's way, Winkler said the team showed signs of growth.

"I thought we saw a lot of good things," Winkler said. "We don't like to lose, but we saw a lot of growing up as the game went along."

The team will have to grow in a hurry after losing a large senior class, which included a majority of last year's starters.

"You can talk about inexperience all you want, but they are varsity players now," Winkler said. "You can't use that as a crutch."

Facing a large Priory line, the Indians gave up more than 200 yards rushing and 300 yards of total offense. St. Vincent did not allow more than 17 points in any of its 14 games last season. The defense turned in four shutouts last season and held opponents to seven points or less in 10 of 14 games.

Charlie Schlafly rushed for 125 yards for Priory, which added 147 yards in the air. The output included a 66-yard scoring pass and added a 38-yard touchdown run.

"Any time you lose a ball game, you have to rebound and figure out what went wrong and what went right," Winkler said.

St. Vincent moved the ball on offense, putting up more than 270 yards. Waylon Richardet scored St. Vincent's lone touchdown on a 30-yard pass play from Tim Guilliams. Lucas Robinson added a 27-yard field goal.

"We made some key mistakes at key times that hurt us," Winkler said.

Park Hills Central was one of last year's shutout victims, with St. Vincent coming out on top 10-0. Valle, which plays in the same conference and district as St. Vincent, defeated Park Hills 14-8 last week.

Winkler said he expects Park Hills to be another test, but he thinks his team is up for the task.

"We've seen a lot of good signs this week," he said.

Notes

* Jackson High School athletic director Kevin Bohnert said the school raised about $2,800 for hurricane relief at the Indians' home opener Saturday against Hillcrest Christian of Jackson, Miss. Bohnert said the money will be presented to the Red Cross at a future home game.

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