Tigers return to underdog role vs. SLUH

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Central's football team tasted the thrill of victory for the first time this season in a one-point win over Normandy on Saturday, but with only four days of practice the Tigers will face a tall task tonight at Houck Stadium against a SLUH team ranked No. 6 in the Post Dispatch's top 10 poll.

Tigers coach Lawrence Brookins acknowledged that SLUH is a more highly regarded program but said Normandy's athletes are on par with some of the better teams they'll face.

"SLUH has more of a tradition of winning, consistently winning, opposed to Normandy," he said. "Normandy has some good, tough kids, though."

Despite a return to the underdog role for tonight's game, the Tigers have started showing signs of life over the past two weeks. The running game reached the 100-yard plateau in a game for the first time this season against Normandy, with Brandon Twiggs surpassing 100 yards himself.

"For a game the running game stuck its head out of the dirt," Brookins said. "The kids came off the ball better, especially defensively."

Senior defensive back Tyrone Reece's return to the field on Saturday was also a big boost for the Tigers. Reece intercepted a pass and recovered a fumble in the win.

Reece will likely see some time at quarterback tonight as well, the position he was slated to start before injuring his hand before the season. Central freshman Garrett Stevens will make his first start, with sophomore Blake Slattery also taking some reps at quarterback.

"Quarterback will take care of itself. We'll find the right combination," Brookins said.

If the Tigers are going to move to 2-3, their run defense will have to come to play against a strong running attack. Stephen Simmons has rushed for 564 yards through four games to lead SLUH.

Brookins said he was proud of his team's effort against Normandy, and knows it will take another great effort to win tonight.

"We're looking forward to a good outing against a good-looking SLUH team," he said.

Noteworthy

* Central football players will honor members of Central's staff and faculty before the game in the first Faculty/Staff Appreciation Night. Tiger football players each chose a current Cape School District employee who has had a positive influence on them in some way. Each faculty or staff member chosen will be wearing the road jersey of their player, and will be honored in a ceremony starting at 6:40 p.m. prior to tonight's game.

"I believe this event creates an opportunity to teach our young men to be aware of some of the positive influences in their lives and to be humble enough to take a minute to simply say thanks to some of you who work so very hard for our district in good times and bad," Brookins said.

* The Tigers will be without receiver Scott Brueckner, who is out with a ribcage injury. Running back Marcus Rice will be back in action after sitting out last week's game.

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