Central football likely will be missing a top receiver and a former starting quarterback.
Central football coach Lawrence Brookins may have some skilled positions to fill after last year's playoff run.
Brookins said at Thursday's picture day at the high school that leading receiver George Hamilton III relocated to Tampa, Fla., with his mother and sister, while the only player in school with significant experience at quarterback did not come out for the team.
Brookins said it's still possible Hamilton, who caught 32 passes for more than 560 yards, could return.
"George right now is out of the picture, and we are preparing as though he's not going to be with us," Brookins said. "He called me the other night and we talked for -- heck -- almost an hour. He really wants to come back bad."
One-time starting quarterback Garrett Stevens decided he will not play this fall, Brookins said. Stevens, a senior, started for much of his freshman season in 2004 and split time in 2005 with Blake Slattery, who took over starting duties last fall in his senior season.
Slattery passed for more than 1,500 yards while leading Cape Central to a 4-7 record and a Class 4 District 1 championship.
With the quarterback position up for grabs, senior Chase Johnson has emerged as the early favorite to lead the 2007 Tigers offense. Johnson lined up last year as a receiver. His only experience at the quarterback position came at the junior varsity level, Brookins said.
Sophomore Raymond Woldtvedt and freshman Andrew Williams also have taken some snaps in practice. Williams is the son of Tigers offensive coordinator Steve Williams.
"Andrew is already 6-foot-3 and wears a 16 shoe," Brookins said. "He throws a pretty good ball, and he's really smart."
Central graduated leading rusher Hykeem Hammonds, who gained more than 600 yards last year.
Tigers tennis coach Annette Slattery said her team will return its top three players from last year: senior Sarah Ford, senior Lindsey Pingel and junior Christen Edmonds.
"I have three seniors on the team and a group of eight juniors," Slattery said. "The juniors are very competitive and pretty evenly matched, so on any given day you don't know who's going to step up."
In the swim
The Central boys swimming team was not at picture day Thursday, as coach Dayna Powell's team had its photos taken last week.
Central will have some new competition this year in Southeast Missouri with Jackson adding a boys program. The Indians team -- which was in double digits for the number of swimmers on the team, Powell had heard -- also will include some athletes from the Gators Swim Team and the South East Aquatics League.
Poplar Bluff dropped boys swimming, leaving the region with three boys teams -- Central, Jackson and Notre Dame.
Central has 13 swimmers for the second year since swimming moved to the fall.
"We're a little bigger [in numbers], and we have just about everybody back," said Powell, who graduated three from last year's team.
That won't be the case for Powell when she switches over to the girls program in the winter. In addition to graduating Texas A&M-bound Hannah Kinder, Central will lose sophomore-to-be Susan Beth Scott, who will train with the national team for the Paralympic Games in Beijing. She is competing this week at the Paralympic competition in Rio de Janeiro will spend the next year in Colorado Springs, Colo., to prepare for Beijing.
"It's the chance of a lifetime," Powell said. "Having her and Hannah leave in the same season is tough. We're happy to have Hannah moving one to a great opportunity, and for Susan Beth, it's the chance of a lifetime. Hopefully, we'll get her back next year."
Scott joined Kinder at the state meet last year for Central.
With Jackson's addition of girls swimming, the region may have as many as six teams with Central, Notre Dame, Poplar Bluff, St. Vincent and Saxony Lutheran having fielded teams last year.