Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Pair of Norths Offer Bargain Entertainment

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Pair of Norths Offer Bargain Entertainment

Article excerpt

Baseball's on strike and hockey's going through a lockout. But there's still high school football.

"You can't beat it," Howel North football coach Tom Cella said. "What does it cost for a family of four to go to a hockey game? Something like $210. Well, you can take that same family to a high school football game, get everybody a hot dog, a soda and some popcorn and it'll cost you about $20. It's a bargain.

"And they'll get a chance to see two teams playing for the right reason - because they love to play."

Cella said that the Knights had been playing to record crowds this season. And another full house is expected tonight when the Knights play host to Fort Zumwalt North. Game time is 7:30 p.m.

"At this time of year, they're all big games," Cella said. "But a lot is riding on Friday's game. It's a Gateway Athletic Conference game, it's a district game and it's a pride game.

"It should be a lot of fun."

The Knights, ranked No. 13 in the Post-Dispatch large-school poll, are 7-1 overall and 3-0 with St. Charles West atop the GAC standings. Zumwalt North, which mysteriously dropped out of the Top 20, is 7-1 and 2-1.

The contest will feature the area's top two rushers - Zumwalt North's Andy Patzius (1,272 yards, 19 touchdowns) and Howell North's Karnell Matthews (1,193 yards, 12 touchdowns). But both teams are deep and talented.

"To beat Zumwalt North, you have to find a way to limit Andy Patzius; he's the catalyst of their offense," Cella said. "But you can't key on him too much. They have a very good quarterback (Tom Fetsch), a good fullback (Jason Duncan) and some good receivers (led by Jon Clark). And their offensive line is huge.

"I really feel this game will be won or lost along the line of scrimmage."

The Knights have improved each week and Cella is hopeful that trend will continue. Quarterback Brad Hutchins has thrown for 1,042 yards and five touchdowns. His top receivers are Jason Wood (18 catches, 365 yards) and Chris Crabtree (17 catches, 270 yards). Fullback Nathan Woolen is another key to the Knight attaack.

"Our seniors have done a great job of providing leadership and we're adding new wrinkles to the offense and defense each week," Cella said. "But we know we're in for a battle (tonight). It should be a great football game." In other 7:30 p.m. games tonight:

Upset-minded St. Charles plays host to St. Charles West. The struggling Pirates (2-6 and 0-4) would like nothing better than to knock off their sister school. But that's a tall order.

West, the area's ninth-ranked large school, is 3-0 in league play and 7-1 overall. The Warriors, who've won back-to-back district titles, feature a team of talent and balance. Mike Orlando has rushed for 692 yards and has 11 touchdowns. Quarterback John Ferguson is completing 53.6 percent of his passes and has thrown 13 TDs this fall. The West defense is paced by linebackers Gabe Regot and Mark Colegrove. …

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