Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

No. 3 Hazelwood Central Looking to Continue Winning Tradition

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

No. 3 Hazelwood Central Looking to Continue Winning Tradition

Article excerpt

Fifty-one seconds.

The Hazelwood Central football team's season came down to 51 gut- wrenching, heart-breaking seconds. The Hawks were in the belly of the beast, within a whisker of knocking off Rock Bridge in a Missouri Class 6 semifinal, only to lose 36-33 in the last minute.

Those 51 seconds have fueled St. Louis' most consistent public school program. After finishing last season 12-1 overall and 7-0 in the Suburban North, Hazelwood Central slots in as the No. 3 large school in the preseason rankings.

The Hawks return seven offensive starters and five defensive starters from last year's team. Back are senior quarterback Mike Glass (5-11, 188), senior running back Kevin Batt (5-10, 185), senior center Lexus Morrow (6-1, 230) and junior wide receiver Xavier Sneed.

Glass was a threat through the air and on the ground. He threw for 2,255 yards and 21 touchdowns and rushed for 743 yards and 18 touchdowns. A year bigger and stronger, he should be among the area's top signal callers.

Batt was a force. He rushed for 2,116 yards and 24 touchdowns. He averaged 8 yards a carry. Snead caught 26 passes for 533 yards and four touchdowns.

The biggest question surrounding the Hawks is how the offensive line adjusts to life without prized recruit Roderick Johnson, who is now at Florida State. Morrow is the only regular back from last season, and he joins four seniors who were primarily junior varsity players last season.

"It's a matter of if these guys can take it to the next level," Hawks coach Van Vanatta said. "We're not that big up front. The spotlight is on them."

The spotlight will also be on sophomore linebacker Jordan Carey (6-1, 185), who showed plenty of ability as a freshman. He finished with 43 tackles and three sacks. Vanatta has tabbed Carey as one of the defensive leaders.

Vanatta had no reservations about bringing Carey up last season and, if he sees a freshman making plays at tryouts, will not hesitate to throw him into the varsity frying pan.

Vanatta said that the team's freshman group is large and in charge. He said some of those players are as big, if not bigger, than their varsity counterparts. Carey proved to be an excellent addition to the team during the season and cemented his place on the varsity. …

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