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Webster Looks To Return To Its Winning Ways - High School Football Preview

Coach Ice says team has good mixture of experience & new talent

Webster Groves High School head football coach Cliff Ice during a recent practice session. The Statesmen open up their season at Marquette on Friday, Aug. 11. Diana Linsley. (click for larger version)

August 10, 2017
Normally a football juggernaut, Webster Groves High School is coming off two straight losing seasons. But Coach Cliff Ice, entering his 19th season as the Statesmen head coach, said his squad may show signs of recapturing the good old days.

Webster Groves has a good mixture of experience and youthful talent to match its hard-working off season. That gives Ice and the Statesmen faithful hope.

"I like these guys," Ice said. "I really like being around this team."

Ice said the spread offense will remind fans of the high-scoring days of years past.

"We have a chance to be really good offensively," Ice said. "We're close to being back where we used to be. Hopefully, we can make that jump."

Senior quarterback John Doria returns to start his third straight season. Ice said Doria looks like the quarterback who takes charge of the offense.

"He's improved quite a bit," Ice said. "He's doing things that you expect from a senior. I like the way he's handling the offense."

Doria will have a strong receiving corp. Seniors Jason Tuckson, a starter as a sophomore who missed the entire 2016 season with an ankle injury, Ted Cooper and Ethan Cooley and speedy sophomore Jacobie Banks will see action at wide receiver. Ice said he wants Banks to "get the ball in his hands as much as possible."

Junior Dwayne Kirksey and sophomore Myson Pace will line up at slot receivers. Senior Anthony Brown, whom Ice calls "the best player on the team," will return at tight end. "I feel real good about our receiving corp," Ice said. "Our receiving corp is pretty solid."

Ice said the running game will be led by three inexperienced but talented sophomore players in Kameron Yancey, JerQon Conners and Maurion Clemons, whose older brother Marquis was a standout during the school's most recent state championship run in 2009-10. "We're young in the backfield, but I think they'll grow into it," Ice said.

Ice said the offensive line will be experienced and talented. The center will be sophomore Cole Schnettgoecke. The right tackle will be senior Mitch Lazarow while the left tackle will be junior Max Reed. The left guard belongs to senior Andrew Bristow and the right guard will be senior Temitayo Sobamowo. Junior Jaffet Ayala will be a reserve at guard or center.

"They're real good high school players," Ice said. "They're smart and they care and all that stuff."

The defense will continue to be a strength for Webster Groves, Ice said. The line will include juniors Jack Meyer and Justin Barry and sophomore Noah Arinze at defensive end. Seniors Seamus Dolnick, Sobamowo, Bristow, Lazarow and Reed will see action at defensive tackle. Brown shifts from defensive end to inside linebacker. Senior Ronald Thomas, junior Eric Pettibone and freshmen Greg Graham and Tyler Mooney will see action at the other linebacker spot.

The secondary includes seniors Ryan Rusan, Cooley and Emmanuel Lester-Young and Kirksey at cornerback, Cooper at safety and Banks at free safety.

"We're in good shape if we stay healthy," Ice said.

Junior T.J. Davis gets the nod as the placekicker, which was a huge problem last season. The punter will either be Tuckson or junior Ed Suber. "We'll be okay," Ice said of the placekicking position.

And, of course, Ice said the Statesmen will be competitive this season.

"I feel real good about these guys," Ice said.

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