Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Victorious Dupo Saves Best Hits for Columbia

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Victorious Dupo Saves Best Hits for Columbia

Article excerpt

The body-slamming Dupo Tigers spent the past week preparing for the biggest game of their season by taking a break from the physical side of football.

"We only hit one day at practice," senior Clay Lindhorst said. "That was Wednesday, and Coach (Gary) Mauser had to keep screaming at us not to hit each other so hard."

Mauser wanted his Tigers to save their brutality for the playoff game with their archrivals. Dupo had more than enough left, as it pounded Columbia 20-6 Friday night in the first round of the Illinois Class 2A playoffs before a crowd of more than 2,200 in Columbia.

"I've never seen us hit as hard as we did in this game," Lindhorst said. "This rivalry is bigger than the Bears and Packers. That's the biggest one I can think of.

"No one has to get us motivated for this game. In fact, a couple times this week Coach had to tell us to shut up. We were ready to go."

The victory sends Dupo (8-2) into next Saturday's second round against the winner of today's game between Johnson City and Carlyle. It evened the Tigers' record against Cahokia Conference-colleague Columbia to 5-5 during the last eight seasons; Dupo also won 7-6 in a 1989 playoff meeting with the Eagles.

Columbia (7-3) defeated the Tigers 30-20 in their regular-season contest, which happened to be Dupo's homecoming. The Eagles flew that night behind 195 yards from running back Tim Roepke and key turnovers by Dupo.

Roepke managed only 60 yards on 15 carries Friday, and Dupo avoided making many mistakes on offense or defense. Columbia intercepted one pass by Schooner Fitzgerald - the only Dupo turnover - and an unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty against the Tigers started Columbia's lone touchdown drive.

That came midway in the third quarter. It marked one of only two times Columbia broke inside Dupo's 25-yard line.

Mauser said the difference between the first game and the playoff game was execution. …

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