Central heads into district game missing key starters

Friday, November 1, 2002

Central, ranked ninth in Class 4 and No. 2 in Southeast Missouri, will shoot for its eighth straight district victory tonight when it hosts struggling Perryville at Houck Stadium.

The Tigers enter at 7-1, their best start in 15 years, but will miss three starters due to disciplinary action. The Tigers will play without their leading tackler in middle linebacker Jeremiah Dukes, sacks leader and defensive end Adrian Wren and offensive tackle Ricky Williams.

Dukes and Wren, who both broke unspecified team rules, will serve one-game suspensions. Williams violated school policy and is lost for the season.

"I feel bad for the kids involved," Central coach Lawrence Brookins said. "You never want to bring negative attention to yourself and to your squad. But it's happened and you deal with it and move on."

Dukes, the Tiger fullback, leaves two vacancies.

The Tigers will also be without a fourth starter in offensive guard/defensive tackle Patrick Slattery, who will miss the game due to a death in the family.

"There's been other kids chomping at the bit to play, well, here's their chance," Brookins said.

On the positive side, the Tigers will face a team that is 2-6 and which has had problems scoring. The Pirates have been shut out four times and scored just 54 points. Central averages more than 35 points a game.

Brookins remains wary of the Pirates, a mistake-prone team that played North County to 13 points earlier this season.

"They're a sleeping dog," Brookins said. "They really do concern me. I know coach" Lance "Bell is a tough guy, a smart guy. He's not going to let them give up, especially against Central."

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