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Sports Briefs: Jan. 13

Parkway West seventh grade football team    (Photo courtesy of the team)

Parkway West seventh grade football 

The coronavirus did not prevent the Parkway West seventh grade football team from playing and enjoying a successful season.

Last year, the team didn’t win even one game. This season, coach Andy Heifner and his 20 players, 16 of whom played as sixth graders, turned things around. 

The team reached the championship after winning its playoff games. However, the championship game was canceled because a few players from Eureka contracted COVID-19. So, the team had to be satisfied with finishing first in its division.

Heifner was happy his athletes were allowed to compete.

“It was extremely important that the boys played football this season,” Heifner said. “The boys had their schools moved online in March, their activities canceled, and their summers pretty much confined to their neighborhoods. The limitations placed on youth sports in St. Louis County made it difficult to get football off of the ground.”

Heifner noted the additional restrictions placed on “contact sports” added more challenges.

“The Parkway/Rockwood Football League leadership did a great job of working within the rules and developing alternative game sites in less restrictive counties while awaiting St. Louis County to open back up,” Heifner said. “A huge thanks goes out to Jeremy Gibson and the Fox Youth Football program for allowing the league to move our entire game schedule down to various fields in Arnold.

“The entire Junior Longhorn Football Program was determined to make this season happen for our Junior Longhorn teams. None of this is possible without the support of our parents, who were amazing throughout all of this. We all shared in the belief that the boys needed this. They needed to see their buddies, they needed the physical activity, and they needed the ‘normal’ of their practices and games.”

The challenge came when the boys could no longer practice at Parkway West.

“We were forced to find alternative fields. We traveled to Arnold for practice, St. Charles for a scrimmage, and spent two weeks practicing behind a local church,” Heifner said. “While some programs in the county canceled their season, and others delayed their start until October, it was important to me to keep pushing this season forward for the boys.”

The squad ended with a 4-3 record.

“It was exciting for the boys following a sixth grade season where we finished 0-8,” Heifner said.

Helping coach the team were Nick Atkins, Bob Barnes, Mike Afontoullis, Justin Camp and James Snyder.

“In the sixth grade, our goal was very simple – introduce football. This season, as seventh graders, we just wanted to be tougher and more competitive,” Heifner said. “We were able to do that with a lot more physical practices, more live hitting and a ton of conditioning. This group loves playing football and we cannot wait to get started next season.”

High school boys basketball

Parkway North senior Keashon Petty recently topped the 1,000-point milestone for the Vikings boys basketball team. His achievement came on a fast break in a home game against Parkway South.

Keashon Petty (Source: Parkway North)

Petty is just the third Viking in school history to eclipse 1,000 points. He joins Keith Widmer and Terry Donnelly as part of that exclusive scoring fraternity.

“Michael Berry got the rebound and started the break,” Parkway North coach Russell Vincent said. “He passed the ball ahead to Masico James. Masico drove the ball and passed it to Keashon for the lay-up. It was Keashon’s ninth and 10th points of the game.”

Petty, a four-year starter, will be given a commemorative ball to highlight his accomplishment at the team’s banquet after the end of the season.

Achieving the milestone as the point guard shows Petty is a talented athlete, Vincent said.

“Keashon is extraordinarily talented,” Vincent said. “What we like best about him scoring 1,000 points is that he has never taken a selfish shot in his entire career. Keashon has improved every year he has been at North.

“Keashon is a great student, a humble young man who leads by example and is a friend to everyone.”

Priory gets new mascot

Nevermore will Saint Louis Priory be called the Rebels. The school’s new mascot and logo is a raven. The team will be known as the Ravens

(Source: Priory)

Founded in 1956, the all-boys Catholic prep school in Creve Coeur dropped the Rebels nickname that had been used for more than 50 years. Priory had originally used Saints as its mascot before changing to the Rebels.

“Whether it’s in the classroom, on the field or out in the world, our students and alumni soar boldly, and are proud to be the Ravens,” said Father Cuthbert Elliott, headmaster.

Priory unveiled the school’s new mascot and logo recently hosting Facebook and YouTube Watch Parties.

The highly anticipated branding transformation took place after many months of thoughtful planning. Senior members of Priory’s Student Council enhanced their leadership skills by heading up a task force to choose the new mascot, which expresses Priory’s identity as a Catholic, Benedictine school.

The school noted that the administration knew it was critical to get input from a variety of stakeholders including faculty and alumni. As a result, the task force included five students, five faculty members and five alumni.

The raven plays an important role in the faith of the Priory community, school officials explained. The Bible recounts how Noah released a raven from the ark, and the prophet Elijah was fed meat and bread in the wilderness by a raven.

Additionally, St. Gregory the Great, in his story of the life and miracles of St. Benedict, recounts how Benedict had a pet raven, who used to come every evening to be fed bread from Benedict’s own hand. Once, when Benedict was given poisoned bread by a disgruntled and envious priest, Benedict told the raven to take the poisoned bread and drop it in a place where no one could find it. The raven obeyed and returned for his nightly treat. The raven’s bravery and obedience ultimately saved others from the wrath of a wicked man. 

The school noted that “this kind of selfless dedication is seen in our students at Priory as they excel in all ways.”

“Ravens are known for their incredible intelligence and ability to strategize while on the hunt, making them fearsome predators. They also tend to work together to overcome challenges, much like our students who find they can reach new heights with the help of their classmates,” the school said in revealing its new mascot.

High school football

Eight De Smet Jesuit seniors took advantage of the NCAA’s early signing period for football recruits. The athletes and their college choices are:

• Rico Barfield, Ball State

• Taj Butts, University of Missouri

• Dakote Doyle-Robinson, Baylor University

• Jakailin Johnson, Ohio State

• Hutson Lillibridge, Tulane University

• Denver Parker, Austin Peay State

• Darez Snider, Miami of Ohio

• Mekhi Wingo, University of Missouri

Coach Robert Steeples said he was proud of his athletes.

“You bet on yourself, put in the work and cashed in,” Steeples wrote on Twitter. “You deserve this and so much more. Congrats on finding your new home.”

• • •

De Smet Jesuit senior Jordan Calvin was selected to the inaugural Great American Rivalry Series Scholar-Athlete Hall of Fame Team. He is one of just 144 student-athletes nationwide to earn this honor.

Jordan Calvin
Jordan Calvin

“Getting this achievement means a lot, especially being on the football team and being a scholar-athlete,” Calvin said. “It’s just another example for the younger guys that not only do you work hard on the field, you also have to work hard in the classroom. All hard work pays off no matter if that is on the field or off the field, so hopefully, this keeps them motivated to always strive for greatness.”

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