Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

No. 5 Large School Webster Groves Seeks a Better Finish

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

No. 5 Large School Webster Groves Seeks a Better Finish

Article excerpt

In the span of one-and-a-half games, the Webster Groves football team's season turned into a nightmare.

Parkway Central used a dominating second half to run away from Webster Groves in a Class 5 semifinal last year as the Colts rolled to a 42-21 victory. Six days later in the annual Turkey Day Game, rival Kirkwood embarrassed the Statesmen 44-0.

Webster Groves ended its season at 9-5 overall and 5-2 in the Suburban South Conference.

That's the bad news.

The good news is most of those players have returned for some redemption.

"On paper we should be pretty good," Webster Groves coach Cliff Ice said. "The offseason was much better."

The Statesmen bring back seven starters on both sides of the ball. Many of those returning regulars are on the offensive line and at the skill positions.

It's why Webster Groves is the No. 5 large school in the preseason rankings.

"We brought back three offensive linemen," Ice said.

Quarterback Rob Thompson (6 feet 2, 195 pounds) returns after a solid season under center. He completed 177 of his 316 passes for 2,593 yards, 25 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. He also rushed for seven scores.

The point man of Webster's traditional spread-offense attack, Thompson will have plenty of experienced options to choose from. The Statesmen brought back all but one wide receiver who saw time last season.

The most dangerous of those weapons is Missouri recruit Cam Hilton (6-1, 175). The versatile Hilton can line up just about anywhere Ice and his staff can imagine. As a junior, Hilton led the Statesmen with 17 total touchdowns. He caught 54 passes for 922 yards and 14 touchdowns.

In the defensive backfield, Hilton was a difference maker as well with 63 tackles and seven interceptions.

The Statesmen will have to find someone, or several someones, to replicate the production they received from graduated running back DJ Johnson, who wracked up 895 yards on the ground and led the team with 1,133 total yards.

Defensively, there is plenty of experience back in the fold, led by Hilton's multiple skills in the defensive backfield. Three-year starter Anthony Jackson returns to anchor the defensive line for his senior season. …

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