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In it to Win - Ladue News: Sports

In it to Win

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Posted: Friday, September 23, 2011 10:00 am

Who’s the best soccer team in town? There are plenty of contenders and most of them are the usual suspects. Is it De Smet? CBC? SLUH? Chaminade? Whitfield?

Try Priory.

That’s right—the tiny yet mighty Rebels have opened the fall season a house afire. Priory, as of Ladue News press time, was a crisp 7-0, without allowing a goal this season. The Rebels are thumping their opponents left and right. They have yet to score less than two goals and have scored four or more goals five times.

And the schedule isn’t soft. Among the fallen are defending Class 2 champion St. Mary’s and large school opponents Oakville and Fort Zumwalt West.

Coach John Mohrmann, in his 20th year at Priory, said this team doesn’t have one single entity or dominant personality driving it. When the Rebels stunned much of the state by taking the 2005 Class 2 title, it was, in large part, due to the offensive explosion of Jimmy Holmes. This group, though, is different. The success this team is having is due to the collective effort of 13 seniors.

“We have depth and we have skill,” Mohrmann says. “We’re very balanced all over the field.”

Twelve different Rebels have tallied at least one goal. Sam Newman has the team-high with a mere five. Spreading around the scoring load makes the Rebels incredibly dangerous, because you never know where they might strike. With that many kids who are capable of stepping in, it’s anybody’s guess where the next one is coming from.

And one goal, so far, has been enough to win all of their matches. The defensive unit has been posting clean sheet after clean sheet with seven shutouts to start the season. “It’s been pretty clinical,” Mohrmann says of his defense.

Another factor in this team’s fire is last season’s playoff exit. The Rebels were among the best Class 2 teams in Missouri. They were upended by Clayton 1-0 in the district semifinals a week after bludgeoning the Greyhounds 5-2 in the regular season. Clayton would then go on to win the district and find its way at the state semifinals. Priory ended its season 18-4 and stunned.

With that loss still fresh, the current roster has gone about its business in a way that reflects a knowledge few teams have—they know it can be over in a blink. “A lot of the guys, they feel the sting of that still,” Mohrmann says. “We know that just because everything is going well now, it doesn’t mean it’s going to go well next game.”

***

Henry Jones joined some of the rarest of air last Friday night. The St. Louis University High graduate had his number 42 football jersey retired before the kickoff of the Junior Billikens game against CBC.

Jones, class of 1986, left SLUH and played four years of college football at the University of Illinois. He was drafted by the National Football League’s Buffalo Bills in 1991 and played in three Super Bowls. He was named to the Pro Bowl in 1992 after he tied for the NFL lead with eight interceptions.

Jones would go on to play 12 years in the NFL with the Bills, Minnesota Vikings and Atlanta Falcons before retiring after the 2002 season. Jones is just the second SLUH alum to have his jersey retired. Basketball legend ‘Easy’ Ed Macauley was the first.

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