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The ITD Morning After with Tim McKernan, Jim Hayes and Doug Vaughn
The Lindenwood University Press Box with Frank Cusumano
The Big Phat Sports Show Presented by Patrick’s Restaurant and Sports Bar at Westport with Dave Greene, Jay Randolph Jr. and Sara Bruce
The Sports Edge with Jeff Vernetti and Howard Balzer
The King’s Court with Kevin Slaten
G and R Radio with Ron Godier and Dave Rapp
The Home of the
The EMak Show with Evan Makovsky
On The Line with the Z-Man with Mike “Z-Man” Zarrick
The Adam Spitz Show
The Sports Zone with Rob Rains and BJ Rains
Afternoon Mayhem with Brian McKenna and Jeff Gordon
The Joe Roderick Show
The Charlie Tuna Show
After Hours with Randy Cash and Jeff Stephenson
St. Louis Sports Fan
26 DEPA RT MEN T S 10 SCOT T ’S SHOT S
FEATU RE S
14 BEING F R ANK
26 HI GH S C H OOL FOOTBALL
16 OLD / NEW SCHOOL
CBC’s New Home Turf by Brittney French
18 TAILGAT ING
30 F OO T B A L L
The Media Loves T.J. Moe
Frerotte and Offense Mix Well at John Burroughs by Howard Balzer
22 HEALT H & F IT NESS
34 F OO T B A L L
38 HIGH SCHOOL SPOT LIGHT
The Tigers — Ready to Take on the SEC by Gabe DeArmond
Ending High School Football’s Drought at the Dome by Jim Powers
with Aaron Randolph, MBA, CSCS, USAW-L1
42 ASK D R. R ICK Cover photo provided by: CBC On the cover: players standing: Zach Turnure, Coach Scott Pingel and Johnathan Parker. Players kneeling: Aarion Penton and Bert Birdsall.
with Dr. Rick Lehman
44 SCOT T R OVAK’S CLOSING S H O T 46 T HE F INAL OUT Fisher Instills an Attitude of Expectation by Howard Balzer
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LETTER FROM THE PUBLISHER As we bring you this edition of St. Louis Sports Magazine, we bring with it the news that we will now publish the magazine four times per year. Moving forward,
we will have one issue per quarter that will relate to the topics in sports that happen during that time of the year. We will start with this issue, our fall issue, and then follow up with a winter issue in mid-October, a spring issue in March and a summer issue in mid-May. We continue to have a tremendous amount of fun putting together the magazine for you, as we have done since our first issue in April 2007. We hope you have enjoyed it as much as we have and will continue to enjoy it with our new schedule. Speaking of schedules, what a year it is shaping up to be for the Missouri Tigers in their inaugural season in the SEC with teams like Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee and Florida on their schedule! I was fortunate enough to travel to Birmingham, Ala. for SEC Media Days in midJuly and get a good reminder of the habits of SEC football fans. You see, I know what to expect; I spent two years at WHBQ in Memphis, and we were the local affiliate for Ole Miss football and often traveled to Oxford, Miss. for games. I’ve seen Saturdays in the SEC, and they are different. It is not just an activity — it is a way of life. Everything we do here in the Midwest before, during and after a football Saturday, they also do, except they do it 10 times bigger. I once went to an Ole Miss football game and there were more people outside of the stadium in “The Grove” than there were inside the game … and the game was a sellout. You have never seen passion like this — until now. When teams like Georgia and Alabama roll into your town for a road game, they bring friends. Lots and lots of friends. At Media Days, we asked a man who covers Georgia, “How many fans do you think will travel to the Mizzou game?” His response was, “Depends on how many tickets they get. If they get 15,000 tickets, then 15,000. If they get 20,000, then 20,000 and so forth.” As a passionate college football fan myself, I am very excited to see not only how the Missouri Tigers respond to the football, but how Tiger fans respond to the SEC in general. I plan to travel to a Mizzou road game or two this year, and hopefully the Tigers will bring plenty of friends, as well. Enjoy!
Publisher Grand Slam Sports, LLC Executive Management David Greene James Oelklaus Katy Pavelonis Creative Director Jennifer Burkemper Director of Photography Scott Rovak *All photos by Scott Rovak unless otherwise noted.
Associate Editors Howard Balzer Audrey Hanes Contributing Writers Josh Bacott Howard Balzer Frank Cusumano Gabe DeArmond Brittney French Jim Powers Aaron Randolph Jay Randolph Jay Randolph Jr. Matt Sebek Marketing Specialists Michael Elbe Michael Calvin Doug Lehman Dave Rapp
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For a mail subscription of St. Louis Sports Magazine, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
ow, what an incredible experience. When I was given the opportunity to photograph the US Army’s Golden Knights parachute team on July 3 as they parachuted into Busch Stadium before the Cardinals game, all I said was tell me when and where, and I’ll be there. I was also allowed to attach a small camera on one of the Knights’ helmets that fired a frame every two seconds as he descended. It was awesome to watch the soldiers as they prepared for their jump. The only downside was that I couldn’t jump with them, but Sergeant Daniel Cook, who helped me get set up, said when I make it to Ft. Bragg, I’ll get my chance!
Thanks for reading, Scott Rovak, Director of Photography, St. Louis Sports Magazine 10
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The Media Loves T.J. Moe By Frank Cusumano
eporters don’t ask for much: an air-conditioned press box, an outstanding media buffet and athletes who speak in complete sentences. We prefer sentences with at least a noun and a verb, and if we get really lucky, a few adjectives, too. However, every once in a while, we get that rare athlete who can fill a notebook in 45 seconds — an athlete whose sound bites are so good that even the ones that end up on the cutting room floor are better than 99 percent of the stuff that airs. That athlete is T.J. Moe, the pride of Fort Zumwalt West High School. He might be the only athlete in SEC history to receive a standing ovation after a media day press conference, and here’s why: “They say the girls are prettier here, air’s fresher and toilet paper is thicker. “We’re the red-headed step child until we prove ourselves. “Everybody wears a tie or sundress to games. Look at me. I wore a dri-fit polo to Big 12 media last year. (He was wearing a suit and a tie.) “It’s serious here. I wouldn’t be surprised if everybody was strapped with a gun here.” Moe recently came to Rams Park; he says it was to see his old buddy, Danario Alexander, but I bet he was watching Danny Amendola. Moe is Mizzou’s Amendola. He’s actually bigger and maybe faster; he’s a slot guy who immediately becomes his quarterback’s favorite target. Downfield receivers sometimes take too long to get open; tight ends could be hammered at the line of scrimmage. Good slot receivers get open early and often. The same year that Amendola caught 83 balls for the Rams, Moe caught 92 balls for the Tigers. In 2010, Moe was always open. “That was a fun one,” said Moe. “We lost Derrick Washington right before the season, and the receivers had to step it up a little bit because our star running back was gone. He was in the best shape of his life, and he couldn’t be with us, so Michael Egnew and I had to pick of the slack a little bit.” To paraphrase Reggie Jackson: Moe didn’t come to Mizzou to be a star; he brought his star with him. Moe had one of the most remarkable single seasons in Missouri Prep history. He was a do-it-all quarterback. Moe threw for 31 touchdowns and ran for 30 touchdowns. His combined passing and running yardage was 4,586. No, that’s not a career number — that’s for one season. He was ranked by Rivals.com as the 32nd best athlete in the country and fifth best in the state of Missouri. However, as storied as his career was, it’s not as glitzy as the prep career of his new teammate, Dorial Green-Beckham. “Well, he’s really big, and he’s really fast,” said Moe of Green-Beckham. “He can do some special things that most guys can’t do, and that’s what we are really going to ask out of him this season. Guys that big generally can’t run that fast. He’s built a little like a tight end with the speed of a really good receiver, so he will be able to jump up into some plays I think that most guys can’t make.” Missouri will need all the weapons and athletes it can get as it makes the move to the SEC. The buzz surrounding the move is enormous. Still, the players and coaching staff have to play it cool; they can’t be in awe. “That’s what Coach Pinkel was saying,” said Moe. “We weren’t playing against a bunch of high school teams. We don’t talk about the Georgia and Alabama games. We’re more worried about the first game and putting a good product on the field. But, if you remember the Oklahoma game in 2010, take that and multiply by two or three, and that’s probably what you will get for some of the SEC games.” Moe will have options after his career at Mizzou. He wants to play in the NFL. He talks about entering the world of high finance, too. I would like to work a little longer; I hope he has a long NFL career, because I would like to keep my job. v Frank Cusumano is a sportscaster for KSDK and can be heard weekdays (10am-12pm) on 590 The Fan KFNS
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Five Things That Come to Mind:
Cortland Finnegan is stylish and distinctive. He buys suits at Sam Cavato, and he is personally trying to change the culture of losing at Rams Park. I love all the time he spends with the young defensive backs. Finnegan is not Roger Wehrli, but if you factor in what he will do as a player and as a mentor, his role is large.
Every time I get angry about all of the political ads that dominate our local newscast, I realize they are actually paying my salary at KSDK. So, have at it guys and gals. I wonder if it would be more effective though if the ad started with, “I think my opponent is a good guy and an effective politician; I am just a better one.”
There should be a limit on the number of college scholarships given by state schools to international students. That’s taxpayers’ money. Do you really have to go to Milan to get a tennis player? Couldn’t you find one in Chesterfield, Phoenix or Chicago?
The best baseball week of my life was spent in Cooperstown watching 12-year-olds play at Dream Park. I wish every kid who has ever put on a glove could experience the manicured fields, the green walls and the baseball romance.
You know what athlete we are never going to see again? Michael Phelps. He made $40 million from the last Olympics. He has had enough. He doesn’t like the spotlight; he just wants to enjoy life. He is going to date plenty of women, go to a lot of parties and the only time water will ever touch his body again is when he showers.
Old School vs. New School Jay Randolph
Jay Randolph Jr.
How do you expect the Rams to do in the first year under Jeff Fisher? Sr.: They will be better. Fisher is capable of getting this team near .500. Jr.: Hopeful that they can find six wins. Better get some early; the back half of the schedule is tough. What are your expectations for Mizzou’s first season in the SEC? Sr.: The Tigers will be competitive as they make the transition to a stronger conference. I think they will be worth watching. Jr.: I have them going 7-5, a surprise win and surprise loss will occur. It’s gonna’ be a fun ride! Predict who will compete in Super Bowl XLVII and the BCS National Championship Game : Sr.: Detroit and Pittsburgh and Alabama and USC. Jr.: I say it will be New England and San Francisco and LSU and Southern Cal. Could the 2012 USA Men’s Basketball team beat the original Dream Team? Sr.: I’ll take the Dream Team. I was in Barcelona; they were remarkable. Jr.: No, I don’t think they would have a shot, but I don’t care. What are your favorite flavors of ice cream? Sr.: Coffee and Vanilla. Jr.: I love Oberweis Chocolate and Peanut Butter and Haagen Dazs Vanilla Chip. What is the best movie series of all time? Sr.: The Godfather series Jr.: Great Question. If Godfather Three had been a little better, it would be winner, but I go with the Bourne movies If you were a professional coach, would you allow your players to tweet? Sr.: No. Tweeting is not going to improve their playing abilities. Jr.: Sure, as long as they tweeted responsibly. What is your favorite board game? Sr.: As a youngster, I loved and played Monopoly. I haven’t played checkers or any other board game in 40 years. Jr.: I loved the game Payday back in the day. Do you agree with the punishment the NCAA gave to Penn State? Sr.: The NCAA, as usual, could have done a better job. They went over the top in their sanctions. Jr.: I think it was a little severe. Taking Joe Pa’s wins is a little weak in my mind, but I did not and will not read the Freeh report.
Jay Randolph Sr. hosts the Randolph Report Wednesday, 6pm-7pm on 590 The Fan KFNS Jay Randolph Jr. can be heard on The Big Phat Sports Show on 590 The Fan KFNS
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k l a T e t Tailga
inside the mind of the
st. louis superman
ith Batman, Spiderman and the gang known as The Avengers spending their time drawing millions to the box office this summer, we felt it was appropriate to seek out the local superhero who shirks his duty to save the world and instead spends his time strolling around Busch Stadium taking photos (and donations). Known as the St. Louis Superman, he possesses a remarkable power that makes it socially acceptable to pose with a man wearing full spandex in the middle of summer. We brought him onto the JSF Show and attempted to get into the mind of a true legend: JSF: You’re down at the stadium right now; are you in the suit? Superman: I am in the suit. I usually wear just classic Superman. On certain nights when I’m having a bad hair day or actually out of hair gel, I’ll just grab my Spidey suit, it’s an easy costume. Tonight I had plenty of gel and am having a great hair night, so I’m out working. You said you’ve got a Spidey costume. Isn’t there a clash between the two with one being DC Comics and one being Marvel? What are we doing here? People like variety. I gotta give them what they like. Not to mention I am an impersonator, a street performer, and (there are) certain times someone will call me and say, no offense, but he likes Marvel, he doesn’t like Superman. I can always understand a child will like one comic book more than the other. That’s perfectly fine. So I do
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have Spidey ... that’s what I call (Spiderman), and he does pretty well. Not as popular as Superman, obviously. When someone operates at a high level of fandom like you do, how do you deal with those days when you wake up and you think to yourself, “I don’t feel like putting on that spandex Superman suit and taking pictures with baseball fans?” I push through because if I don’t show up, I will be reminded of it the next day and fans will be very angry about it. The fact that the people care that much motivates me to say, “You know what, the people are behind this. If the people support me, then I’ll support me.” Fans seek you out; you operate on tips. Can you give us an idea on how many fans seek you out each night? If I tried to keep tabs on how many pictures I take with a counter, my thumb would fall off because of carpel tunnel syndrome. Yeah, I take a lot of pictures. Where are you hoping this gig takes you full time — is it taking you to Vegas or Hollywood? Is it to marry a woman named Lois? What brings this job full circle? Full circle — Superman is obviously a great choice when playing a role for a movie or acting or what not, and I’m
never going to want to “escape the cape” as other actors have tried to do, because I feel that being able to play the role that people enjoy is a blessing, not a curse. I want to turn this into an acting career itself. What does Superman offer that the other local sports superfans don’t? What’s your edge? Well, the St. Louis Superman, aside from being a huge Cardinals fan, my edge is that I support faith. Whatever you want to call it — faith, karma, belief — whatever you want to say you do to keep the spirit of the Cardinals. You just gotta’ believe in the boys of summer, because if you don’t have faith in the Cardinals to win, they’re not going to win.
The New and Improved Cardinals Hall of Fame The current landscape of Ballpark Village leaves something to be desired. That is, unless you’re a slowpitch softball player or a saxophone-playing hobo. In early July, plans for the first “real” development phase of Ballpark Village were released. They include visions for a venue to be called “Cardinals Nation,” which features retail space, restaurants and a new Cardinals Hall of Fame and Museum. The last iteration of the Cardinals Hall of Fame shared space with the National Bowling Hall of Fame and would have gone bankrupt three months into existence if it wasn’t for grade school field trips. This time around, we’re hoping the Cardinals do it right. The expected pieces of memorabilia will certainly be on hand — bats, balls, jerseys — but those are the norm. What we want is a special hall dedicated to random Cardinals artifacts, so we polled our readers and found that the exhibits Cardinals fans want to see range from “sort of bizarre” to “bizarre doesn’t even begin to describe it.”
• The rib that they removed from Chris Carpenter this year • Mike Laga’s pink jersey from his 1986 Topps card • The tarp that ran over Vince Coleman • Tom Lawless’ HR bat from the 1987 World Series • The bullpen phone that Julian Tavarez punched in the 2004 NLCS • The phone that befuddled Tony La Russa in the 2011 World Series • A bust of Mark Mulder’s head with a hair dye cap on it • A cup of Ray King’s belly-button sweat • The ball from Pujols’ final GIDP as a Cardinal • The moth that flew into Holliday’s ear in 2011 • Torty Craig’s shell • The Rally Squirrel that appeared in the 2011 NLDS • Autographed Mike Matheny hunting knife • Esteban Yan’s sweatbands • Mark McGwire’s jar of Andro • A crushed Budweiser can that Will Clark threw at J.D. Drew • The cheeseburger that Terry Pendleton placed on third base for umpire Eric Gregg to eat
With Mizzou prepared to formally enter the grandest of college football stages, known to civilians as the SEC, it is inevitable that the quality of competition on the field will take a step up. What most fans have not taken into consideration are the benefits that the state of Missouri will enjoy when their legendary road trips cross our borders. We teamed with an economic expert to review what areas will enjoy spurts of growth throughout the coming football season. At least we’re pretty sure he was an economic expert, but we can’t be certain.
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Laugh, Learn, and Listen It’s like a box of chocolates. You never know what you are going to get, but it’s always delicious. Don’t forget to say,
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HEALTH AND FITNESS
Lacrosse Takes Over North America by Aaron Randolph, MBA, CSCS, USAW-L1
layed primarily in Canada and the Northeast United States, the game of lacrosse was created
by Native Americans as a way to praise the Creator and physically display their love, respect and amazement toward that which gave them life. These days, lacrosse exists as a physically demanding, explosive and fast-paced sport.
Over the past two decades, lacrosse has become the fastest growing sport in North America, with staggering growth at the youth level. As a result of that growth, there is a growing need within the field of strength and conditioning to understand the physical requirements of the sport and the proper techniques used to enhance performance. Where most coaches go wrong in sports like basketball, soccer and lacrosse is to think that because the athletes might be moving around for longer periods of time versus baseball or football, this must mean the athletes need to have a great deal of aerobic endurance. This is absolutely not the case; sports such as basketball, soccer, volleyball and lacrosse are dominated by anaerobic power, meaning the athletes perform work in short segments of time at maximal or near maximal effort with approximately one to two times the rest at moderate to low intensities. Typically, we see lacrosse athletes performing more than 100 work repetitions per game, lasting primarily between five and 30 seconds in duration with up to a minute rest between each repetition. With this in mind, coaches would be much better off utilizing sprint intervals, fartlek training or “gasser” type conditioning versus long, slow distance. Aerobic training at longer distances and slower speed will only make your athletes slower. The key is to get the lacrosse player to utilize speed and quickness in a repetitive manner by allowing for sufficient rest between intervals so that each effort is at or near maximal intensity because this is similar to what they do during the game. Additionally, lacrosse is highly dependent on athletes’ ability to create space, thus the ability to accelerate and decelerate trumps maximal speed more often than not. This simply means that it might be a good idea for a coach to spend more time working on acceleration drills such as a one knee start, falling start or even single leg plyometrics versus longer maximal attainment sprints like wind sprints or flying start sprints. In addition to acceleration and deceleration focused drills, coaches might want to consider their athletes’ strength-to-mass ratio in determining acceleration or deceleration ability. Instead of being concerned with how much he or she can squat, be more concerned about how much he or she can squat when compared to his or her body weight. For example, take a one repetition maximum for the squat and divide it by their body weight. Anywhere below a 1.5 is suboptimal and anywhere above a 1.5 is sufficient. The higher the ratio, the 22
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better the athlete will be able to start, stop and move their body around the field. Lastly, one would also want to consider utilizing a high degree of rotational power training. Trunk rotation around the spine is crucial for the athlete’s ability to manipulate the lacrosse stick while passing and shooting. Rotational power output can be increased essentially in two ways: developing a stronger core and developing a faster rotation. A coach, for example, would not only want to do heavy medicine ball training, but also do light and quick medicine ball training to maximize trunk rotation velocity. When it comes to strength and conditioning, there are many avenues of investigation a professional can and should look into. For now, we have uncovered three of the main factors that need to be considered for training for lacrosse; the sport is highly anaerobic, creating space is the key to success for offenders and closing space is the key for defenders and when it comes to core training, focus on the rotational aspect. Keeping these ideas in mind will surely give lacrosse athletes a heightened potential for success and performance. v For more information on performance specific workouts, go to emergefitnesstraining.com
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CBCâ€™s New Home Turf By Brittney French
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he Christian Brothers College High School football team went 13-0 during the 2011 regular season. The run for a perfect record was within the school’s reach; the Cadets were the No. 1 team in the large school rankings and the Class 6 state poll and were favored to win the Missouri Class 6 championship game. CBC entered the title match undefeated, but the school’s historical season ended on a sour note. The Cadets were hoping to bring home CBC’s first state title, but instead, the team fell 40-37 to Blue Springs South at the Edward Jones Dome. After last year’s upset, the CBC football team is looking to change its 0-2 record in title game appearances. The Cadets are ready to embark on a new era and defend their home turf this season. Literally.
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Since May, crews have been working to transform the CBC athletic stadium into a championship field by laying new turf, and unlike other athletic fields at schools throughout St. Louis, the new turf at CBC is a bit different. “The turf that was installed in our stadium is a true championship turf,” said CBC Director of Communications Rob Staggenborg. “This turf came straight from the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in Louisiana. The New Orleans Saints played on this turf. A BCS National Championship was played on this turf, and this field has a great history to it.” When CBC moved campuses from Clayton to Town and Country in 2003, the school equipped its new athletic stadium with high-quality turf. At the time, the Cadets’ field was among the best in the area, and CBC was the only school in St. Louis to actually have turf. After nine years of use, CBC’s turf became out-of-date and needed to be replaced. The school began searching last year for new turf, and after extensive research, former CBC parent and current CBC board member Bob Leonard found that the Superdome was auctioning off its field. “The technology of turf fields has gone crazy over the last 10 years,” said Staggenborg. “When we first installed the turf at our new campus, we were the leader in athletic fields, which was good and bad at the time. It was good to have the best turf in the area, but then when other schools installed their fields a few years later, their surface was better than ours because turf technology has evolved so much.” CBC immediately placed a bid last March for the Superdome’s turf since the stadium would be replacing the field for the 2012-13 NFL season. Like most auctions, however, there was more than one bidder; the University of Alabama also made an offer on the Superdome’s turf. In January, the University of Alabama beat Louisiana State University in the BCS National Championship game at the Superdome, which is why the
school placed a bid on the stadium’s turf. Alabama wanted to install the championship turf on its practice field and have a piece of history since the school recorded its very first shutout (21-0) in BCS title games. But, because the Crimson Tide and the Tigers have one of the biggest rivalries in college football, the Superdome was not looking to sell its field to the enemy state at any cost. “We got a deal we could not refuse,” said Staggenborg. “After LSU lost to UA, the Superdome did not want to sell its field to Alabama. CBC President Mike England began negotiations with the Superdome in early March because the field was torn out for the Final Four and sitting in the stadium’s parking lot. Our offer was accepted by the Superdome a few weeks later, and the field was shipped to us the next month.” During the first week of April, 17 semi-trucks hauled the Superdome turf into CBC’s athletic stadium. Workers from TTI Sports Inc. began tearing out the old athletic surface in early May and started laying the new turf several days later. The entire transformation of CBC’s championship field wrapped up last month. The field itself was in place at the end of June, but there were a few final touches that needed to be completed before use. Extra pieces around the track were trimmed, the staggered CBC logo was painted at midfield, lines for both football and soccer were striped in, coaching boxes were added and the seams that pieced the field together were glued down. CBC is also considering painting the word “Cadets” in the field’s end zones. Facilities and maintenance staff at CBC have been learning how to care for the championship field since it arrived at the school. Some faculty members attended turf workshops at Rams Park because the new field at CBC is a pro-grade surface. “We’re just really excited about this whole process and can’t wait to show it off this year,” said Staggenborg. “This
is a pro-rated turf that was used less than 20 times. It’s made from the best materials and encompasses the most modern technology. This turf will last us eight years, and it’s pretty significant that we have a surface like this. It means a lot to everyone, and the students are extremely proud of the new field.” On Aug. 24, the Cadet football team will play its first game on the school’s new turf. The CBC soccer team will play its first match on the surface several days later, while rugby, lacrosse and ultimate frisbee will use the field in the spring. CBC is planning to host a special dedication ceremony for the surface before the inaugural game, where the school will sell pieces of the old field in a plaque. Other parts of the old athletic field were used to line the school’s batting cages. “This field is just a real source of pride for CBC,” said Staggenborg. “The football team had an amazing season last year and got shorted in the end. It’s a tough way to finish a season by losing (by) three points in the state championship. “The Cadet football team has a lot to prove this year, and I think this new field will give the players the confidence they need to have another great season.” Aside from football games, CBC aims to provide a one-of-a-kind experience at its athletic stadium. In previous years, the school has hosted several fan promotions with several restaurants, ceremonial coin tosses and pregame tailgates. “CBC really gets into its football games,” said Staggenborg. “We want our field to be more than just a playing surface. We’re a bit different than other schools in a sense because our stadium (is) a great place to come see a game. We are big on the music we play during games because we want to be a source of entertainment. “I think we will do a great job continuing this tradition with our new field.” v
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Frerotte and Offense Mix Well at John Burroughs
p h o t o b y s i d h a s t i n g s / f o r t h e p o s t - d i s pat c h
by Howard Balzer
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e has a Pro Bowl on his resume from when he was with the Washington Redskins in 1996, passing for 3,453 yards. He played 15 seasons in the NFL with seven different teams, and while he will never be fitted for a gold jacket in Canton, he did pass for 21,291 yards and 147 touchdowns in his career. Not bad for a seventh-round pick out of Tulsa. And yet, here Gus Frerotte is again, getting ready for his second season as head football coach at John Burroughs High School, hoping to lead the Bombers to a state championship after having lost the last two title games in their class.
Frerotte laughs when he mentions that his daughter Abby, who is entering her senior season, has been a part of back-to-back state title teams in lacrosse at Burroughs where she was an all-Metro goalie. “She has three state championships already,” said Frerotte. “I have one from high school in baseball. I played it all the time. I love baseball; it just didn’t happen for me in baseball like it did in football. I told her, ‘I have to catch up to you.’” To have a chance, Frerotte knows he will have to find his alter ego, a quarterback who can run his offense and make plays like the departing Davey Holmes did last season with 32 touchdown passes. “He played great,” said Frerotte. “He’s a tough kid and made a lot of plays.” Summer will sort out a competition between Nick Duncan, who transferred to Burroughs from Springfield (Mo.) Catholic, and rising sophomore Tre Moore, a product of the Chesterfield Athletic Association.
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“They are very different, so I’m excited for them to compete and see who wins the job,” said Frerotte. Whoever does will have a strong supporting cast, led by running back Ezekiel Elliott, who is likely headed to Ohio State. “Zeke can go as far as he wants,” said Frerotte. “He’s a great track athlete and has great football skills. He has some of the best hands I’ve seen. Urban Meyer (now head coach at Ohio State) said he can be the next Percy Harvin, returning kicks and playing running back or wide receiver.” Noting that Elliott was MVP of a Nike camp in Illinois, Frerotte adds, “He’s getting bigger in the weight room; probably not as much as I’d like because he ran track. He struggles with which one he likes better, but I think he gets more excitement out of football. He’s legit and a lot of fun to watch — a lot of fun to coach.” Whoever wins the quarterback job will be throwing to 6-2, 205-pound receiver Foye Oluokun, who Frerotte
can’t stop gushing about. “Foye’s an incredible kid, incredible athlete and an all-state basketball player,” he said. “He never catches anything in his body, can jump great and always catches with his hands. He also loves to hit. If he plays college football, he’ll probably be a safety or outside linebacker. He worked hard in the offseason to increase his straightaway speed and get better agility.” The offensive line returns, including center Griff Palan, who suffered a broken ankle in the playoffs last season and missed the state championship game. Defensively, the Bombers lost standout linebackers Sam Hefler and Bear Kaminer, to which Frerotte said, “We have to find kids to step up.” He is confident that the Bledsoe twins, Christian and Xavier, along with Solo Ceesay and Oluokun, will head the defense run by coordinator Mark Nicholas. “He’s a 4-3 guy that runs a 3-5 now, and he does an outstanding job studying game tape, calling blitzes and putting a
lot of pressure on teams,” said Frerotte. “He knows defense inside and out … his way of calling defense is incredible, and I don’t have to worry about it. Special teams coach John Merritt does a lot of crazy things, which I love.” With that supporting staff, Frerotte can concentrate on what he knows best: offense. He doesn’t hold back just because he’s coaching high school kids. He recalls his first taste of coaching, when he helped his son’s fifth grade youth team. “That was an adjustment,” said Frerotte. “They don’t know one thing about football and have no idea what you’re talking about. These kids are looking at you like you have two heads. You have to pare it down and simplify it. That’s what you try and do with kids. “Now, at high school, I can expand what I teach more. These are smart kids at Burroughs. They learn quickly. It’s been a real joy. The best thing is being able to call my own plays and put in schemes that I like from all the offenses I’ve been in. It’s a mix of (Norv) Turner, (Cam) Cameron, (Scott) Linehan, (Mike) Shanahan, (Gary) Kubiak— all these coaches I’ve had.” Frerotte’s ascent at Burroughs was a quick one. He played for the Rams in 2007 and 2008, and then for the Vikings in 2009, which ended up being his final NFL season. With his daughter at Burroughs, Frerotte wanted to see what the football program was like. He started by helping out some, and then became part of the staff under then head coach Todd Small in 2010. Small still called the offensive plays, but Frerotte said, “I was in the box and told him about the defenses and what we needed to attack.” After that season, Small retired and Frerotte was named head coach. Now that he was running the offense, Frerotte said, “I took a little bit of what they knew before and incorporated into more formations. That wasn’t a hard thing for them. I put some new ones in, added
verbiage here and there and integrated it into what they knew. If I didn’t like the way a route was run or the way a scheme was blocked, I’d change the scheme for blocking protection. In high school, you have to go with what you have. “In high school, you get what you get. You have to incorporate what the kids can do, not necessarily what you’d like to do. But, we have a big offense. The package last year was for a scrambling quarterback, so we did things to move him in and out of the pocket. We’ll see how it unfolds this year.” Frerotte believes in making things difficult for defenses. In last year’s title game, Frerotte said Blue Springs “had like 10 plays and they run them over and over. They’re really good. Kids run them from middle school on. You can run it that way. I’m going to try to confuse the defense as much as possible. I get our kids to buy into that. We don’t really run that many plays. We run them out of multiple formations (to the tune of 35 formations, which is doubled for right and left). “It’s tough for people in high school to adjust to that. They have to be able to adjust with the same people on the field.” As for adjusting, Frerotte loves what he’s doing. “I knew I wanted to be a coach,” said Frerotte. “My father-in-law was a coach (and was Frerotte’s coach in high school at Fort City, Pa.). We have different styles. He’s very old-school, but he helped a lot of kids.” That’s what Frerotte is doing now and what he will continue doing in the foreseeable future. His son Gunnar is a freshman at Burroughs, while Gabe is in eighth grade. “It’s great to be at the school where your kids are,” he said. “Maybe, at some point, I will go to a different level, the NFL or college somewhere. I feel I could contribute at any level, but I wanted to be with my kids a few more years. “I’d like to be here at least until (Gabe) graduates. After that, who knows? No
way I can look that far ahead. I’d love to have a glass ball and say, ‘Here’s where I want to be in five years.’ I don’t really know; I take it one year at a time. I’m just enjoying myself.” That includes being there for his sons as they start getting serious about the game. Gunnar is also a quarterback, and his dad says it will be interesting to see what happens in the following years. He likes that Burroughs has revamped its middle school program, which enables Gabe to play. The eighth-grade team will play five games this season. “They never did that at Burroughs before,” said Frerotte. “It’s good to have them start at a young age and find out if they like it. They can also get to know the system a little bit. Sometimes we get juniors that have never played before, and you have to teach them the basics. We had two kids like that last year.” Gabe is also a quarterback, to which their dad says, “Gunnar has a really strong arm. Gabe has better technique; his form is impeccable but not as strong an arm. It’s going to be fun to watch them.” For now, he is preparing for the season in a new district, trying not to have his team “peak too early.” “I want them to be in great shape mentally and physically not get beat up in September,” he said. Of winning the elusive championship, Frerotte, ever the realist, says, “We have to get there first.” v
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to take on the
By Gabe DeArmond
Gary Pinkel made national headlines after speaking at his first appearance at Southeastern Conference Media Days in Hoover, Ala. in mid-July. Opining on Joe Paterno notwithstanding, perhaps Pinkel’s quote gave insight into his team’s mindset as it enters the nation’s premier football conference.
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“Walking in here, it’s really not a whole lot different than the Big 12, honestly, at this point,” said Pinkel. “We’ve had pretty good coverage where we’ve been at in the past.” To be fair, Pinkel wasn’t talking about the product on the field, where the SEC reigns unquestionably supreme. But, even the league media days were hyped like never before during Mizzou’s first months after the move from the Big 12 became official. “They say girls are prettier here, air’s fresher and toilet paper is thicker,” Mizzou wide receiver T.J. Moe joked while decked out in a button-down shirt and gold tie. “Look at me. I wore a Dri-FIT polo to media days last year.” Welcome to the SEC, Mizzou, where everything is bigger, badder and a whole hell of a lot tougher than the place you just came from ... at least that’s what those in the Tigers’ new league are saying. Here is a sampling of the questions Pinkel fielded from the hundreds of assembled reporters: Talk about recruiting, not specific about players, but joining the SEC, do you look at the offense and defense and start on that basis in recruiting just to match up with the other teams because the SEC is so dominant on both lines? Do you think that the Missouri family has a little bit of a chip on their shoulders because they’ve been told over and over that you’ve been playing JV football and now you’re going to the big league? Pinkel’s answer? “I don’t really know how to interpret that question,” he said. “You get a lot of, ‘We’re playing in the SEC now — this great league.’ People act like we’ve been playing a bunch of high school teams. We’ve played in a pretty big league.” “I played JV football,” added cornerback E.J. Gaines. “It didn’t look like that.” Make no mistake; the Tigers do have respect for their new conference. After all, SEC teams have won the last six national titles; last year, a team that didn’t even win its own division in the SEC won the national championship. Needless to say, it’s a fine, fine assembly of football teams.
“Granted, there’s no question you’re going against better talent in the SEC just because all the teams are at a little bit higher level, but I’ve been against some great players in the Big 12,” said sixth-year offensive tackle Elvis Fisher. “I’m not trying to knock anybody, but I’ve been against some excellent players in the Big 12 that I think are the best ones I’ve ever played against. “It’s just something that I just listen to and brush off my shoulder. A lot of us understand —you can’t really control what the media puts out there; you can’t really control what anybody else says or does. The only thing you can control is how you come in and prepare.” And so, while Pinkel says he wouldn’t say the Tigers have chips on their shoulders, there is little doubt they are out to prove a point. “To me, it’s being a competitor,” said the 12th-year coach. “As a competitor, you get challenged a little bit. Bottom line, you got to go out and prove yourself. I’m fine with it. I have no problem with it. Not going to make any predictions; never have, never will. You have to go out and compete and earn respect and win. Only way you’re going to get respect is winning games, OK? That’s the way it’s going to happen. I’ve got no problem with that.” Pinkel knows the team will be critiqued each week but vows to not get caught up in what the analysts say.
“How (are) A&M and Missouri going to play out this season in the SEC? That’s the big question,” said Pinkel. “The analysis, the last month-and-a-half, two months, three months, and they’re going to keep analyzing it every single week. I’m not going to get all caught up in that. It’s a great league; we respect the league, and now we’re going to go in and compete.” Three SEC coaches are plenty familiar with the Tigers: Will Muschamp was a defensive coordinator at Texas, Les Miles coached at Oklahoma State before going to LSU and Gene Chizik was an assistant for the Longhorns and the head coach at Iowa State for two years before being hired at Auburn. All had strong words of support for Pinkel’s program as it enters the conference. “You look at Missouri — the job Gary Pinkel has done has been outstanding,” said Muschamp. “I think in (‘07), they were one game away from playing in the national championship. Competing against those guys, they do a great job. They’re going to be fine.” Chizik agrees: “Gary Pinkel is one of the best football coaches in the country. If you look at what he did turning Missouri around — the point he’s got them to — you know, I hear a lot of things. Missouri and Texas A&M aren’t coming into the SEC with their hat in the hand saying, ‘Thank you for letting me be here.’ They’re coming in here to
compete and play their tail off on the football field. You can bank on that one. To think that Missouri and Texas A&M are going to come in here and all of a sudden they’re going to have their eyes open to football — that’s insane.” Still, those same SEC coaches have plenty of pride in their league and know that the Tigers have a tough season ahead of them. “I think there will be a learning curve,” said Miles. “They’ll have to recognize that there is a little different breed of defense in this conference.” How will the Tigers fare in the big, bad Southeastern Conference? It won’t take long to find out. Mizzou hosts Georgia on Sept. 8 and travels to South Carolina on Sept. 22. Those are the top two teams in the Eastern division according to the preseason poll conducted in Hoover. “We definitely use it to motivate us,” said Gaines. “I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of doubters out there until we play our first game. I don’t know why there wouldn’t be coming into a new conference and things like that. It’s something we have to deal with. We’ve kind of got to put it in the back of our heads heading into camp and the Southeast Louisiana game.” It is, as the new Mizzou motto says, “A New Era.” Finally, that era is about to begin. v Gabe DeArmond is the publisher of PowerMizzou.com, the Missouri site in the Rivals.com network. You can read his daily coverage of the Tigers at missouri.rivals.com.
HIGH SCHOOL SPOTLIGHT
Ending High School Football’s Drought at the Dome by Jim Powers
// Who will the top players be in the area in 2012? Latsch – “John Burroughs running back Ezekiel Elliott and Fort Zumwalt South running back Chase Abbington were among the top players in the area last season and then were besieged by college coaches from coast to coast in the offseason before making their college commitments to Ohio State and Missouri, respectively. O’Fallon cornerback Darius Mosely is the rare high school perimeter player who prefers defense to offense. I like that. Even though he’s a standout wide receiver and cornerback, the Illinois commitment wants to shut down opposing wideouts and try to score on defense. You have to like Rockwood Summit linebacker Eric Beisel’s work ethic. He’s a big, physical linebacker who has worked really hard in the weight room to get bigger and stronger. He’s an extremely confident kid who is working toward making an impact at Missouri in 2013 and then planning on playing in the NFL following his career in Columbia.”
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photo by paul kopsky
he St. Louis area’s 2011 high school football season ended on a very sour note at the Edward Jones Dome last November. All four teams that advanced to the MSHSAA State Football Championships came away on the losing end of the those games, which again brought up the question: “Is the western part of the state better?” The 2012 season begins with many questions about one of the deepest talent pools that the area has seen in many years; many want to know if one of the area’s talented teams can bring a state title back to St. Louis. High School Sports Caravan and STLhighschoolsports.com have once again partnered to bring the area’s high school football fans the most comprehensive coverage every Friday night. Each week, along with a one-hour pre-game show and games on both 590 and 1380, fans will be able to hear area sports experts break down the games and talk with the fans about what is going on in the area. Fox Sports Midwest will also help with The Prep Zone every week — four games a week will be streamed live on foxsportsmidwest.com. The writers from STLhighschoolsports.com will again help answer some of the biggest questions out there, as well as share their thoughts on the 2012 season. Nate Latsch, Greg Uptain and Joe Harris are out every Friday night covering games and will be a big part of the High School Sports Caravan every week. Here is what the experts think about the 2012 season:
Uptain – “Ezekiel Elliott (John Burroughs) is the obvious one. I also really like Aarion Penton (CBC) and Chase Abbington (Fort Zumwalt South), and I am enamored with the tremendous collection of talent we have on the lines: Jack Kurzu (MICDS), Alec Abeln (SLUH), Antar Thompson (MRH), Andy Bauer (De Smet), Demarvious Loving (East St. Louis), Ben Saint (Fort Zumwalt West) and Harneet Gill (Francis Howell).” Harris – “This area is loaded with talent, so this is an impossible question to answer; but, just to name a few seniors: Fort Zumwalt South running back Chase Abbington, a Mizzou recruit who rushed for 1,459 yards and scored 26 TDs last year; Summit linebacker Eric Beisel, another Mizzou recruit who had 110 tackles last year; and O’Fallon cornerback Darius Mosely, an Illinois recruit who had 50 tackles and four interceptions last year.” Powers – “As Greg mentioned, Ezekiel Elliott is going to be one of the best running backs in the St. Louis area, but the
Aarion Penton photo by christian cooden/post-dispatch.com
talent at the running back position is as deep as it has been in many years. I am also looking to see what Andy Bauer from De Smet is going to bring to the table. He does so many things well on the line and will open some big holes for the Spartan running backs.”
// Are there any sleepers to watch for? Latsch – “Three senior running backs who will step out of the shadows into prominent roles this season will be CBC’s Jonathan Parker, Fort Zumwalt West’s Teddy Williamson and Fort Zumwalt East’s Mason Burnett. Parker and Williamson have already shown their skills a year ago in limited roles for their teams as backups. Both have the athleticism and speed to rack up more than 1,000 yards this fall and, with enough carries, should be among the area’s leading rushers this fall. Burnett has a rare combination of size, strength and speed. He has played several other positions in the past but is expected to move to
running back this season. If he’s carrying the ball, he’s going to be difficult for opponents to slow down. He could have a huge season. Rockwood Summit running back Ian McIntosh put up good numbers a year ago — 1,368 rushing yards, 16 total touchdowns — and he’s probably a player who doesn’t get enough pub despite his past production. He’s a very good running back with breakaway speed. Uptain – “My sleeper pick is Jordan Bishop of Kirkwood. Can you be a sleeper if you threw 19 touchdowns against just two interceptions the year before? Amazingly, those 19 TDs came in just 52 completions, as Bishop teamed with the now-graduated B.J. Buckner to toss a combined 35 TDs out of 110 completions.” Harris – “Whoever is the quarterback at Francis Howell. Two years ago Eric Graves passed for 2,113 yards and 24 TDs, and last year, Eric Siebenshuh passed for 2,987 yards and 32 TDs while leading one of the area’s most prolific offenses. Who
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is next to lead QB High?” Powers – “Let me answer Joe’s question: Brett Siebenshuh will be the leader and try to fill the shoes of both Graves and his older brother, Eric. Siebenshuh, a junior, is coming off of a summer where he traveled with the St. Louis Rams 7-on-7 HSPD team that recorded an 8-1 record in Indianapolis. Coach Bryan Koch will be leaning heavily on Siebenshuh as Howell looks to get to the state playoffs again.”
// Who are the top teams in the area? Latsch – “Some of the teams we last saw playing in the state championship games in the Edward Jones Dome — CBC, Kirkwood, John Burroughs and MICDS — look like they could have big seasons again in 2012. Of course, every opponent on those teams’ schedules will be out to knock them off. De Smet has eight starters back on offense, including senior quarterback Conner Harrison; so, even though the Spartans graduated two Division I wide receivers in Durron Neal (Oklahoma) and KeVonn Mabon (Ball State), they should be strong again in 2012. Look for De Smet to be dangerous with its running attack. O’Fallon and East St. Louis will look to battle it out for the Southwestern Conference crown once again and should be factors in the Illinois state playoffs. O’Fallon has a strong leader in senior quarterback Todd Porter. East St. Louis had some young talent a year ago, like then-freshman running back Natereace Strong, who could make a big difference this fall. Uptain – “I feel the top teams will include Kirkwood, CBC, O’Fallon, Maplewood-Richmond Heights, John Burroughs, De Smet, East St. Louis, MICDS and Francis Howell.” Harris – “I’ve got to go with the usual suspects: CBC, Kirkwood and John Burroughs. All three made it to the Dome last year, only to lose heartbreakers. All three have plenty of talent back, and the experience of last season’s run is an advantage.” Powers – “You have to look at CBC and Kirkwood as the favorites to make another deep run in the playoffs this year, especially with the new playoff system in place; but, be on the lookout for Webster Groves. Cliff Ice always comes to the party with a talented and well coached team. Over on the Illinois side, O’Fallon is as good as ever and will contend with East St. Louis for the Southwestern Conference crown.”
// Are there any sleeper teams in the area? Latsch – “Lafayette has a nice collection of talent and senior leadership. The Lancers aren’t exactly a sleeper after going 8-3 a year ago, but Lafayette could be poised for a breakout season and a longer playoff run. Rockwood Summit went 7-4 a year ago and returns some key senior playmakers, like running back Ian McIntosh, linebacker Eric Beisel and defensive end Alex Armstrong. Vashon, a team that went 6-4 in 2011, has some good playmakers returning, especially senior wide receiverdefensive back and University of Iowa commitment Derrick
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Mitchell Jr. The Wolverines may be the class of the Public High League this fall and could be a dangerous team in the playoffs.” Uptain – “Among my sleeper teams are Summit, Vashon, St. Charles West and Hazelwood East.” Harris – “I really like Summit. Coach Mike Bellers has led the program since it began and has established a firm foundation, and Beisel should be a force this season.” Powers – “Keep your eyes on Vashon. We have always seen a team come out of the PHL and make a deep run in the state playoffs, and with the summer that Vashon had, they might be the team to make that run. They have a balanced attack offensively, and they will put up a bunch of points every game.”
// Who will we see at the Dome in November? Conner harrison Latsch – “This could be the year that Kirkwood, CBC and MaplewoodRichmond Heights break through to win their first football state championships. All three schools have strong all-around squads. Kirkwood returns senior playmakers like running back Ramon Alton, wide receiver-defensive back Andre Harris (Iowa commitment) and quarterback Jordan Bishop and has three starting interior offensive linemen returning. CBC has explosive offensive players returning like University of Missouri commitment Aarion Penton and running back Jonathan Parker and should have a strong defense again this fall. The questions for the Cadets will be: How will inexperienced players step up on the offensive and defensive lines and how will they fare with a new quarterback following the graduation of two-year starter Dalton Demos? Maplewood has a new coach in Rich Nixon, who led Hazelwood Central to two state championships and a runnerup finish in three consecutive years before leaving his post for another job. He couldn’t have found a better fit for a winning team in 2012 with the Blue Devils, who bring back senior quarterback Kahlid Hagens, senior lineman Antar Thompson (Missouri commitment) and a strong cast of returning players who have won a lot of games over the years.” Uptain – “I believe the St. Louis area will be represented in each of the title games from Classes 2-6 at the Edward Jones Dome. My picks are CBC in Class 6, Kirkwood in Class 5, Borgia in Class 4, Burroughs in Class 3 and MRH in Class 2.”
An MICDS Fixture Passes Away. Remembering Tom James by Jim Powers
photo by rick graefe/journal
Harris – “CBC in Class 6, Kirkwood in Class 5, Burroughs in Class 3. In a twist, I believe the new playoff system could hurt St. Louis area teams in Class 4, who may have to get past Webb City (District 4) to get to the dome. Webb City has won the last two Class 4 state championships.” Powers – “I like CBC making it back to the dome in Class 6, while Kirkwood should get there in Class 5. Class 4 is going to have the toughest road to the dome for the St. Louis area, but I think that MICDS can get there. John Burroughs will make their way to the dome in Class 3, while Coach Rich Nixon will lead his second team to the dome in Maplewood/Richmond Heights in Class 2.” It’s going to be a great year of football in the St. Louis area, and fans can catch all of the action every Friday night on the High School Sports Caravan on both 590 the Fan and on 1380 the Fan2. Fans can also read about it every day on STLhighschoolsports.com. v
hen sports fans read the sports section of the paper or go online and check out the stats from the previous night’s games, they are seeing the work of people who don’t get paid a lot of money. Rather, they are seeing the work of people who care about the student athletes and want to make sure that the numbers are right. Tom James was one of those guys, and people depended on his stats almost every day. James, a 1987 graduate of MICDS, passed away on July 31. His legacy will always live on in the halls of MICDS, the press box at Busch Stadium, press row at the Missouri Valley Conference basketball championships and the many state championships that he was a part of. James was the type of guy that anyone would want on their stat crew. The things he could do with numbers and his memory of sporting events was unbelievable; he could recall who won a wrestling match at a state tourney at the drop of a hat. James impacted so many people and was the type of guy who would be there to help with anything. This was apparent the evening he passed away; media members who had worked with “TJ” at Busch Stadium for years used their Twitter accounts as a memorial. “Tom brought a style and friendliness to the press box that can’t be duplicated,” said Brian Bartow of the St. Louis Cardinals. “He always was looking to help others and was never one to look for attention. He was all about doing things to make others look better, and he received great satisfaction from seeing the success of others. In an industry that often looks for faults rather than strengths, Tom’s genuine traits of caring and friendliness always stood out.” James was a permanent fixture with the Blues at Scottrade Center, as well as with the stat crews at the Missouri Valley Tournament and many MSHSAA State Championships. Still, many believe the biggest impact that James made was to the student athletes at MICDS. Not only did he do stats for many of the school’s sports, he also assisted Chris Muskopf with sports information at the school. He got information out to the media quicker than most, and it was correct every time. At his funeral on Aug. 6 at a church in Clayton that holds 400 people, an overflow crowd of nearly 500 people celebrated his life. Tom James was a friend to all in the media, and in his memory, the High School Sports Caravan will have an additional player of the game award for all of their games this year. The Tom James Unsung Hero award will go to a player who sets themselves apart, just like TJ.
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U.S. Center for Sports Medicine 333 South Kirkwood Road x Saint Louis, Missouri 63122 x PH: 314.909.1666 x FX: 314.909.6513
ASK Dr. Rick Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
ith the advent of the Cardinals’ Chris Carpenter being treated for thoracic outlet syndrome, St. Louis Sports Magazine felt it imperative to pass on information about the rare medical diagnosis to its readers. Thoracic outlet syndrome involves compression at the area between the neck leading into the shoulder where pressure is placed on the nerve, the artery or the vein – or all three – as it passes between two muscles, which are the anterior scalenus and the middle scalenus. These muscles can compress nerves in the brachial plexus. The brachial plexus nerves originate in the neck, pass through the upper part of the shoulder and go down into the arm. Thoracic outlet syndrome can affect the brachial plexus set of nerves, the subclavian artery and possibly the vein; it can create pain, numbness and weakness as a result. In athletes, thoracic outlet syndrome may be positional and have compression when the arm is in a certain position. As athletes throw a baseball in the abducted externally rotated position or in the late cocking phase of throwing, these vessels and nerves can be compressed. There can also be constant pressure in people who have thoracic outlet syndrome. If the anterior and middle scalenus muscles are hypertrophic and too big, they can compress the nerve or artery. If the muscles go into spasm, they can compress the nerve or artery, and if position of the first rib is such that there is pressure on the neurovascular structures, they can be compressed in a static position. Other compression syndromes can be positional and usually occur when the arm is above the head. Most athletes with thoracic outlet syndrome experience pain, which can be burning or aching. It can be in the back part of the shoulder, down the arm or can involve part of the hand. The pain can be in the side of the neck or in the chest area; it can also be underneath the armpit. There can also be discoloration of the hand, the hand being cooler in terms of temperature. Athletes can present with weakness, numbness and tingling in the shoulder leading into the hand. Athletes might also complain of forearm weakness and/or numbness. Weakness in the shoulder can present with very little pain or with severe pain and can be progressive, and the offending structure that is causing the compression determines the symptoms. Thoracic outlet syndrome can be traumatic and occurs from a trauma to the shoulder or cervical spine; it is commonly seen in athletes who repetitively raise their arms above their heads, which can include swimmers, volleyball players, pitchers, weightlifters, rock climbers and many others. This can also be seen in the general public in electricians, drywall hangers and musicians who repetitively use their arms extended or above their head. The diagnosis is a clinical diagnosis mostly made on physical examination. A test called Adson’s maneuver — which is a test that compresses the brachial plexus — can help determine the diagnosis. There are not any specific physical examination findings that solely lead to the diagnosis of thoracic outlet syndrome, and it can be difficult to diagnose. Other studies that can be done are EMG/nerve conduction velocity studies and a Doppler arteriography, where blood flow is measured and the arm is put in certain positions to block the blood flow. Changes in the blood flow as the arm position changes leads to the diagnosis of thoracic outlet syndrome. Normally, treatment involves rest, stretching and physical therapy; in the majority of cases, this will resolve the patient’s symptoms. Exercises such as hunching and then bringing the shoulders back into a neutral position, as well as stretching exercises of the neck to the opposite side while keeping the injured arm behind the back, help stretch out the outlet and make more room for the nerve and artery to transgress the thoracic outlet. Physical therapy inclusive of passive exercises, including stretching and limiting weight workouts has been beneficial. Surgical procedures have generally been used to decompress the thoracic outlet, and the most common procedure at this juncture is resecting the first rib and cutting the muscles that can compress the nerve and artery as they go through the thoracic outlet. Botox injections near the anterior scalenus muscles can also help. Many athletes who once have had this problem have fully recovered and returned to their sport. Thoracic outlet syndrome is an interesting and very rare phenomenon and, at this juncture, surgery is the only definitive treatment that routinely works.
Do you have a question for Dr. RIck? Please email it to firstname.lastname@example.org
Q. When I’m in the heat, I seem to develop a rash, flushing and feel sick. Do you have any thoughts about my symptoms? – Lawrence O., Ellisville, Mo. A. Lawrence, you might have heating sensitivity or you might actually be on medication that can create this flushing sensation. If you are on any specific medications, ask your physician if they can lead to heating sensitivity. If you’re not on medication and are hydrating aggressively, you need to talk to your physician about care and treatment for heat sensitivity. Q. When I wake up in the morning, I have significant drainage from my nose and feel like I am having a bad allergic reaction. These symptoms get better during the day, but every morning, I seem to have the same issue with congestion, coughing and difficulty breathing. – Jenny M., Alton, Ill. A. Jenny, this sounds like an allergic reaction, and I would start with getting an over-the-counter allergy medication such as Claritin or Allegra. I would also recommend talking to your physician about steroid nasal spray. You need to use this twice a day. In three or four days, your symptons should be resolved. Unfortunately, this is a common problem in our allergic seasons. Thank you for your question.
Monthly Medical Tip: It has been hotter than 100 degrees for three weeks in a row; don’t forget to hydrate! 42
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the final out
by Howard Balzer
FISHER INSTILLS AN ATTITUDE OF EXPECTATION
has been seven months since Jeff Fisher arrived as the coach of the Rams, and his message has been consistent and unrelenting. The past is the past and the goal is simple: prepare to win games — nothing more, nothing less. Just before the start of training camp, Fisher told the Post-Dispatch, “Every training camp I’ve started as a head coach or assistant, it felt like my first. This one feels like it’s my first training camp. You go into it with a willingness to learn, with energy. With willingness to put a team together that has high expectations. That goes out expecting to win every game. “I love this game. I have great respect for our owner, (Stan Kroenke), and I made a commitment to him to get him a (Lombardi) Trophy. And I’m going to start working towards that.” A lofty goal? Yes, especially for a team that went 15-65 over the past five seasons. Still, talent-wise, there’s no reason to believe the Rams can’t achieve at least as much as the 2010 seven-win team. Once there, it’s not far from being in the post-season, where anything can happen. Just ask the 9-7 New York Giants from last season. It is an attitude of expectation that Fisher adheres to, and most important, his players nod their heads and buy in. Former Rams coach Dick Vermeil had a favorite mantra when it came to describing how it develops when players heed your words. Vermeil would say, “You have to be believed to be heard.” Without a doubt, the Rams are hearing. Defensive end Chris Long described the first team meeting of training camp, saying, “He knows how to do it, so he gives us confidence just being up there.
grand slam sports
There’s no panic about it. It’s ‘We’re gonna win, and we’re gonna learn how to win and we’ve got what we need in this room.’” Although fans and media go week-by-week with the schedule and attempt to predict the team’s record, Fisher obviously avoids projecting or even suggesting what record would be acceptable. He’s all about getting ready for Detroit on Sept. 9. He said in a recent radio interview, “If I were to say we’ll go 10-6, what do I tell the players about the six games we’re going to lose? That’s not fair to them. I’m coming out and saying it’s OK to lose six games? No, I’m not going to say that. “You’ve got to start over every single year, and there’s no reason why we can’t have the same expectations that everyone else has.” There it is: The attitude of expectations. Running back Steven Jackson has been through this before. Fisher is Jackson’s sixth head coach — including interim coaches Joe Vitt and Jim Haslett — since being selected by the Rams in the first round of the 2004 draft. He has rushed for at least 1,000 yards his last seven seasons, yet the team’s record in that span is a stupefying 29-83. Jackson identified a key component of what Fisher has brought to the Rams. “The first thing and the one that stands out to me, being through this several times, is the coaching staff he keeps together,” said Jackson. “A lot of times, it’s hard for a coach coming in to get the exact guys that he wants. A lot of guys are taken around the league that are his first pick or he would choose to have, but it seems that coach Fisher has put together an absolutely stellar staff. There’s a lot of knowledge among those guys. “He does a good job of feeling the chemistry of a team and piecing it together. There have been a few examples already within a day of how he takes control and asks guys for input on certain things.” When Scott Linehan was the head coach, players would roll their eyes during his post-practice talks. That is not the case with Fisher; with him, it’s straight and to the point. “I think the greatest thing about coach Fisher is he is confident, and he’s so confident he doesn’t feel like he has to come out and give us a bunch of lip service every meeting or every practice,” said quarterback Sam Bradford. “He doesn’t say much, but when he speaks, everyone listens because we all understand if he’s saying something it’s for a reason and it’s extremely important. “I just think his natural vibe, his calmness, his confidence just rubs off on everyone. When you’re around him for three or four months in the offseason every day and then you’re around him in camp every day, I think everyone just feeds off that and naturally it takes over the field.” The building confidence was best explained by Long when he was asked after signing his new contract why he wanted to stay with the franchise. “Coach Fish got here and gave us some hope,” said Long. “He does things the right way, and I think (General Manager) Les (Snead) has a vision for it. Stan’s obviously a great owner. I just want to be a part of it. “I’ve been here along with some other guys for some years now, and I’ve seen the downs. When it turns around, I want to be a part of it. I don’t want to be watching it from somewhere else.” v
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