Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Former Eureka Star Staples Is a Heavy Presence at Central Missouri

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Former Eureka Star Staples Is a Heavy Presence at Central Missouri

Article excerpt

Emmett Staples was once a noted fullback, renowned for his ability to power through defenders with his 240-pound frame.

As a Eureka High junior in 1991, Staples rushed for 1,559 yards, attracting a host of NCAA Division I scouts.

Staples' weight ballooned, resulting in a subpar senior season. Eventually, he opted for a junior college, attending Highland (Kan.) Community College. Now he's at Division II Central Missouri State, where he scored two touchdowns Saturday in a 43-10 victory over Washburn in a Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association game.

Staples, a junior, gained only 36 yards on 12 carries, but he cemented a role in the Mules' backfield. Expectations of Staples are high. At Highland, he rushed for 861 yards last year, averaging 5.4 yards per carry.

At Eureka, Staples seemed star-bound, but a disappointing senior year and academic setbacks narrowed his options.

"He had a run of bad luck," Central Missouri coach Terry Noland said.

"He came here and was a little overweight at 265 pounds," Noland said. "Our staff worked with him, and he got down to about about 245. He pulled a hamstring, which was probably because he wasn't in the best of shape, and missed our first two games. He got his first chance last week against Washburn and did a very nice job.

"He has a terrific work ethic, and we're expecting big things from him," Noland said.

SMSU Blues: It's been 21 years since Southwest Missouri State's football team began so poorly.

After Saturday's double-overtime loss to fellow Gateway Conference member Western Illinois, SMSU (0-3) is staring at its worst start since 1973, when the Bears began 0-5 as a member of the MIAA.

It's also the first time since 1981 that SMSU has dropped its first two league games. That's when the Bears were in the Mid-Continent Conference. SMSU never had been 0-2 in the Gateway until Saturday.

SMSU has lost all three games by a touchdown or less: 26-20 to North Texas State; 12-7 to Northern Iowa; and 31-24 to Western Illlinois on Saturday.

The culprit has been turnovers. SMSU has lost six interceptions and five fumbles, while coming up with two interceptions and no fumbles.

From East St. Louis to Macomb, Ill., Frank Spraggins has left a trail of athletic accomplishments.

On Saturday, Spraggins, a freshman, tied a school-record and a Gateway Conference mark with three interceptions in helping Western Illinois to victory over SMSU. …

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