Midseason 4-0 Battle Pits Hawks Offense Against Ritenour Defense

By Jim Wieners

High School Football reaches the midseason mark this weekend and going 4-0 heading to the fifth week of the season happens more often than not for Hazelwood Central.

It is rare on the other hand for Ritenour, who is 4-0 for the second time in three seasons. Prior to 2011 Ritenour has rarely gone 4-0 in four games if not ever.

Saturday, Sept. 28, at 1 p.m. Hazelwood Central hosts Ritenour in this key midseason Suburban North Conference game for both teams, who are each 2-0 in conference play. Hazelwood Central, offensively, goes into this game averaging nearly 41 points per game and the Hawks are scoring over 40 points in each of the last three games. Ritenour, on the other hand, has allowed no more than one scoring play per game, a total of 25 points for four games.

“It’s going to be a big game,” said Hazelwood Central head coach Van Vanatta after the 47-8 win Sept. 21 at Hazelwood West. “(Ritenour is) a very solid team,” and Vanatta said he will be worried all week but this Saturday he will be going to “sit back,” a term that is more figurative than literal.

Ritenour’s offense is not as explosive this year, averaging just over 27 points per game, as compared to last year where the Huskies scored 60 or more points in two games. Huskies’ head coach Hoyt Gregory, a 1988 Ritenour graduate who never played on winning teams, has Ritenour two wins away from their third consecutive winning season as a coach. Gregory said after the 21-7 home win over McCluer North Sept. 20 that the defense is “stellar” while the offense, while not explosive, has  “controled the clock.”

In the win at Hazelwood West eight players contributed in the Hawk scoring including Mike Glass, who threw two first-quarter touchdown passes to Matthew Quarells and ran for a third-quarter touchdown.  Meanwhile Kevin Batt, who scored a first quarter touchdown at Hazelwood West, ran for four touchdowns and caught a Glass pass for another score on Sept. 14 in a 41-27 Hawk home win over McCluer North.

Ritenour’s offense is led by quarterback Devin Alexander, who ran for a first quarter touchdown against McCluer North in the game’s opening drive that took 6:45 then wrapped up the scoring with a 69-yard pass play in the fourth to Crishawn Torrey. In the 28-7 win Sept. 14 at Hazelwood West Alexander ran for a touchdown and passed for two more including one to Marvin Millett, who ran for another.

ELSEWHERE — Saturday, 1 p.m. the Suburban North features a match-up of 3-1 teams as Hazelwood East hosts Riverview Gardens while in a pair of games, all  involving 1-3 teams, McCluer hosts Pattonville and McCluer North hosts Hazelwood West. Also on Saturday Lutheran North (0-4) hosts Lutheran South (1-3) in a Metro League game at 1 p.m. On Friday, Sept. 27, Trinity Catholic (1-3) visits John F. Kennedy (0-4) in a 4:30 Archdiocesan Athletic Association Small Division Football game that precedes a 7 p.m. Trinity-Kennedy Boys Soccer game while at 7 p.m. 3-1 McCluer South-Berkeley visits 2-2 Affton in a Suburban East Conference game.

HAZELWOOD EAST (2-0 in the Suburban North) won the last two weeks as the Spartans won Sept. 13 at Pattonville, 23-14, then pulled off a major upset Sept. 21 in winning at Gorzynski Field over Jefferson City, 33-22. In the win at newly remodeled Pattonville Stadium Marques Banks broke a 14-14 tie with a fourth-quarter field goal from 28 yards while Jimmy Jones ran for two touchdowns and caught a Brandon Brice pass for another touchdown. Against Jefferson City the Spartans overcame a 22-12 Jays’ lead by scoring 21 fourth-quarter points as Brice, who threw two first quarter touchdown passes including one to Jones, ran for a touchdown then hooked up for a two-point conversion pass to Jones and a 25-yard game-winning touchdown pass with 58 seconds left to Jones, who returned an interception 46 yards 21 seconds later.

RIVERVIEW GARDENS, under first-year head coach Matt Elder, is 1-1 in the Suburban North after the Rams won Sept. 13 at McCluer then lost at home Sept. 21 to Pattonville, both by identical 29-12 scores..

McCLUER NORTH is 0-2 in the Suburban North after two road losses to Hazelwood Central and Ritenour. Demetrius Alexander threw three touchdown passes at Hazelwood Central, two to Aaron Walker


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