Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

No. 4 Large School: Edwardsville Faces Stiff Tests Early On

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

No. 4 Large School: Edwardsville Faces Stiff Tests Early On

Article excerpt

EDWARDSVILLE * For all the talent on the Edwardsville football team's roster, Cale Warrer might be the most important.

A three-year starter at center, Warrer is the lynchpin for the Tigers' offensive line. Edwardsville needs the brains of its trench warriors to be at the peak of his powers in his final tour of duty.

"As a sophomore you get a lot more leniency on what you can mess up on. (The coaches) are a lot more patient," Warrer said. "As a senior they expect you to know everything and make sure you're doing your job and on top of that, making sure everyone else is doing their job."

The Tigers have been pretty good at their jobs in coach Matt Martin's previous six seasons. Edwardsville had its three-year reign as Southwestern Conference champions broken by East St. Louis in its lone regular-season defeat. But its streak of six consecutive playoff berths is alive and well as it went 10-2 and advanced to the Class 8A quarterfinals, where it was beaten 38-21 by Glenbard West.

Edwardsville is the No. 4 large school in the preseason rankings.

The Tigers return a solid nucleus of experience and there are new players ready to make a name for themselves, but there isn't the buzz like last season when star recruit and now Iowa freshman AJ Epenesa and fellow defensive monster Tate Rujawitz were terrorizing opponents.

Returning are Warrer (6 foot, 230 pounds) and the two big fellows on his right side, guard Drew Johnson (6-0, 205) and tackle Jacob "Big Red" Stellhorn (6-3, 265). It makes life easier on Warrer knowing he's got experience and chemistry with him on the line.

"It's great having the whole right side for a second year is awesome," Warrer said. "I know they know what they're doing. There's nothing to worry about. Rather than having the left side to worry about."

They'll be charged with clearing the way for the dynamic junior running back Dionte Rodgers (5-7, 155), who rushed for 1,570 yards and 27 touchdowns as a sophomore. …

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