Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Indians, Vikings Set to Tangle in League Showdown Saturday

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Indians, Vikings Set to Tangle in League Showdown Saturday

Article excerpt

Like all coaches, Francis Howell High football coach Tom Guenzler stresses the importance of taking the season one game at a time. This week, he really means it.

In a game that will likely decide the Gateway Athletic Conference championship, Howell will play at Wentzville at 1 p.m. Saturday.

The Vikings, ranked No. 10 in the Post-Dispatch large-school poll and No. 9 in the Class 5A Sportswriters and Sportscasters poll, are 6-0 overall and 4-0 in the GAC. Wentzville, the Post's 15th-ranked large school, is 5-1 and 4-0.

"This is what it's all about," Guenzler said. "You have two of the best teams in the area squaring off with a lot at stake. We know Wentzville is a very good football team and this is their homecoming game. We're working hard and I know Wentzville's working hard, too.

"It should be a great football game."

A year ago, Wentzville beat Howell 18-7. Going into that game, Howell had won 15 consecutive games against the Indians.

"At our place, they're referred to as the Vi-Kings," Wentzville coach Scott Swofford said after last year's victory. "It's been a long time coming."

Both teams enter the game with high-powered offenses and hard-hitting, stingy defenses.

Howell's attack features quarterback David McCormack, who has thrown for 13 touchdowns with just two interceptions. McCormack's talented receiving corps includes Glenn Rivera (17 catches, 344 yards, seven touchdowns), Jeff Colegman (10 catches, 196 yards, five touchdowns), David Simpson (five catches, three touchdowns) and John Spencer (three catches, three touchdowns).

Greg Hayes (248 yards, one touchdown) is Howell's running leader.

Wentzville also features a number of weapons. Backs Leonard Demming (463 yards, seven touchdowns) and Keith Crumes (390 yards, four touchdowns) are having outstanding years and quarterback Jeff Clapp has completed nearly 60 percent of his passes this fall.

"Wentzville poses a lot of problems for a defense," Guenzler said. "They can pound it at you with the big fullback (Demming) or take it outside with the scatback (Crumes). And if you focus too much on the run, they'll throw the ball.

"Again this year, Wentzville is probably the quickest team in the area."

Both teams also feature great defensive units. Brent Mueller, Sam Harris and Buddy Thess lead the way for Wentzville while Steve Trussell, Sean Dwyer and Tom Davidson are Howell's defensive leaders.

"There are no secrets in a game like this," Guenzler said. "We know what Wentzville likes to do and they have a pretty good idea of our game plan, too. So it comes down to execution.

"This is a game we've been looking forward to; it should be a lot of fun."

*****

In 7:30 games tonight:

St. Charles at Fort Zumwalt South - The Bulldogs, coming off an emotional homecoming victory over St. …

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