Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

No. 1 Large School

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

No. 1 Large School

Article excerpt

EAST ST. LOUIS * Wounded. Hungry. Angry.

Any and all aptly describe the East St. Louis football team.

Talented. Focused. Motivated.

Those fit the Flyers, too.

The adjective coach Darren Sunkett does not believe applies to his team?

Experienced.

East St. Louis played five games before the school district's teachers' strike forced forfeits the final four games. The Flyers finished 3-6.

"I couldn't say we played some because we didn't get to play a whole season. There was no season for us last year," Sunkett said. "If they were first-year starters, they didn't gain the experience we needed them to gain."

Still, the Flyers remain among the most talented teams in the area. East St. Louis is the No. 1 large school in the STLhighschoolsports.com preseason rankings.

Senior quarterback Rey Estes (6-foot, 171 pounds) begins his third season as the varsity starter. He threw for 789 yards, 11 touchdowns and four interceptions as a junior. Estes rushed for 405 yards and five scores. He recently committed to play for Missouri.

Estes put together an impressive summer and feels he's at the peak of his powers.

"My first year it was something new. This year I felt confident. I'm coming back with my head more into it," Estes said. "My footwork got better, my arm got stronger. I'm more mentally ready."

Sunkett said his signal caller is healthy, too.

His sophomore season, Estes threw for 1,711 yards and 20 touchdowns all while battling a nagging injury.

"He had a broken foot. We were unable to see the real Reyondous, how good he could be. He still had a decent year," Sunkett said. "He comes back his junior year and it gets cut short. He's a kid who's looking forward to the upcoming season to show his skill level."

His top target will be standout senior wide receiver Jeff Thomas (5-10, 170). The object of affection from any number of top flight NCAA Division I programs, Thomas is a consensus top 100 college football prospect according to any number of recruiting websites. …

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