Mike Tarpey is just one of four coaches who have been involved with the Clayton vs Ladue football series, dating back almost 60 years. Keep in mind, a few of those years the two schools did not meet.
Tarpey follows the lineage of Bob Davis, Ed Velten and Jerry Maher. Velten and Maher combined for nearly 50 years.
The last five years, the series has been played at Clayton’s Gay Field. Ever since Ladue played its entire season on the road, the year the track was being re-built the Hounds have held the home-field advantage.
That’s fine with Ladue’s skipper.
“Friday night crowds tend to me much bigger and louder than Saturday ones. We’d rather play in front of that atmosphere home or away. We feed off of that kind of energy.”
It won’t be home, Ladue has not solved its lighting issue yet in nearly 60 years.
Ladue’s task is at hand
The Rams need to stop the offensive weaponry of quarterback Jake Brown, a sophomore, and Tyler Walker, senior, Brown’s favorite running back and receiver.
The Scott Weisman led potent offense has run up 5 victories in 6 outings. But the opponents have been weak, i.e. Normandy, Berkeley-South, Lutheran North and others. Ladue poses a challenge and next week the Hounds go to unbeaten (6-0) John Burroughs.
Walker has run for 592 yards and has 8 TDs and 250 yards of receiving and 4 TDs. Overall he leads Clayton with 12 TDs (Counting punt and kickoff returns).
Brown is a 46 percent passes who has thrown for 761 yards and 7 TDs.
“That Tyler Walker is a talented individual. Our focus has to be on him. He plays both ways and he can hurt you,” said Tarpey.
Rams are showing steady improvement
Tarpey likes the steady improvement of his team. Take QB Matthew Hooper for instance. The junior signal caller has bought into what the coaching staff expects of him. “We’re an establish the run first type of team,” said Tarpey. “Hooper can run the ball too,” said his coach, but his primary duty is to organize the offense.
The pleasant surprise in 2012 has been the play of Marcellis Wade. “He played JV ball a year ago, he got hurt and he worked very hard in the off-season to be where he is today. Wade has run for 337 yards and 5 TDs, playing second fiddle sometimes to Shawn Whitley, the senior speed merchant.
Whitley has 481 yards rushing and 6 TDs. The difference maker could be the play of Adehkeem Brown (5 catches, 117 yards and 3 TDs) and two way performer Chris Boudoures. The two-way senior plays center and anchors the offensive line and has become a high-performing linebacker his final year at Ladue.