2011 season brings new expectations for determined Ram squad
The Rams lined up to tackle the 2011 season, with a shot at fighting their way to the state championship this year. The team has one goal in mind: winning.
“Summer training this year was the best its been in a while, and that shows the dedication that our players have,” senior and fullback Mike Horton-Loftin said.
Over the summer, the Rams had morning workouts from 8:30 to 10:30 every weekday, other than Wednesday. The team also traveled to the Illinois State Football Camp for three days, and had seven-on-seven scrimmages every Tuesday night.
“The workouts are intense, but our coaches expect us to be there. There are a lot of sophomores on Varsity, so it is up to the older guys to help them keep their heads on,” Horton-Loftin said.
Coach Mike Tarpey recognizes his players’ commitment and dedication. He said the joy of coaching is watching his players develop and improve from week one to the final game.
“We as a staff take pride and satisfaction in watching these kids improve on the field, and gaining confidence in themselves. It is our job to help them become better players and grow as young men,” Tarpey said.
The Rams were 11-2 last year, winning both conference and district championships, but suffered a loss in the quarterfinals at Warrenton. The district is full of natural rivals, including MICDS, Clayton and University City, each bringing a new level of competition for Ladue.
“This year I want to beat who ever shows up on the schedule, and they can bet their life insurance that we will not back down. Our greatest strength is our IQ and how we are able to learn and play fast,” senior and wide receiver Jehu Chesson said.
Chesson is a returning all conference player, along with Horton-Loftin, senior and middle linebacker Daylen Dean and senior and running back Deavin Edwards. Chesson is currently in the college recruitment process.
“I have not decided on any schools but I am still looking and plan to use my official visits on the top five schools I choose. The list as I have promised other agents from rivals and recruiting organizations is coming soon, “Chesson said.
The Rams bring a fresh look to the field this year with senior and quarterback Brandon Carr. This strategy will help Ladue fight Clayton and Normandy, both of which are bound to bring increased energy with their new coaches.
“This year we have more of a pocket quarterback in Carr who distributes the ball extremely well to the skill players around him,” junior and wide receiver Sam Glancy said.
The team is continuously told to focus on playing six seconds at a time, and not rushing the game. They work as a team, but need support from students in order to stay strong.
“I hope to be a leader on and off the field, and be the best teammate possible. We will be great this year, but we still need support,” Horton-Loftin said.
Ladue has lacked school spirit the past few years. Coach Tarpey said that this is due to logistical problems.
“We try to achieve the best atmosphere possible, but lights and Friday night games create a better energy for both the players and the student body as fans. That energy is contagious,” Tarpey said.
One major preventative is the lack of lights, which makes it impossible to play games on Friday night. Ladue football games primarily take place away. Rather than view games from our home field, fans are faced with traveling to away games.
“This team means a lot to me because it is what I like to do, and the individuals on this team do things that other students choose not to take part in,” Chesson said. “That is what I feel they should take pride in, and to quote a great coach, ‘own it,’ (Tarpey). This means whatever you do, not just in football but in life, own it and do it to the best of your ability.”