2019 Football: Ladue Rams
It took them 66 years, but the Rams finally got their first state championship in school history going undefeated no less in 2018. Head coach Mike Tarpey heads into his 13th year (110-38) at Ladue and has turned a traditionally respectable program into a potential powerhouse in St. Louis and Missouri. Since 2013, the Rams have gone 58-12 along with four district championships, four semifinal appearances, two state final appearances, and the one championship. They bring back a solid core from their state championship team and are aiming for a two-peat to christen their brand new stadium.
Henry McIntosh (2,429 yards, 27 TDs, 11 INTs)
Jared Rhodes (42 carries, 301 yards, 3 TDs)
Mason Player (24 catches, 380 yards, 8 TDs) Marzion Cosby (9 catches, 189 yards)
Brian Faulkner (57 tackles, 8 sacks)
Jelani Davis (50 tackles, 3 sacks)
Gideon Boaten (48 tackles, 6 sacks)
James Maguire (6-3, 300 lbs)
Brock Jones (133 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 INT)
Callen Morley (89 tackles, 1 INT)
Since 2013 when Ladue has employed a starting senior quarterback, they’ve won over ten games in every season. Henry McIntosh, a Class 4 first-team all-stater is back for his senior year after virtually coming out of nowhere to put up huge numbers and lead his team to a state title. Despite losing a predominant senior wide receiver corps, the 6-foot-3 pocket QB still has plenty of speed to throw to if not more. Senior, Mason Player is due for a big year and has earned a handful of D1 offers over the summer plus getting all-state as a defensive back. Marzion Cosby’s involvement late in the season was hampered due to an ankle injury but is 100% now, and when healthy he’ll be a problem for secondaries. Expect two more juniors, Kenyatta Anderson and Stewart Dove to fill in the remaining receiver spots. At Running back there's familiar faces, but less experienced ones with Rhoades (2022) and Mel Woodson (2021) splitting time in the backfield, however they both have high ceilings. Ladue returns three starters in the trenches and should continue to have a big line overall with junior Ben Reiff (6-3, 250 lbs) and sophomore Jack Mitchell (6-3 255 lbs) stepping in. Defensively, the Rams should be solid as they’ll start four seniors on the d-line, including all-staters, Davis and Faulkner. Jones, another all-stater and Morely return at linebacker having led the team in tackles last year.
Diagnosis: What sticks out to me is the defense. They return the majority of a unit, including three three-year starters that gave up an average of eight points per game. McIntosh got better over the summer, which might convince Tarpey to air it out more and take advantage of their speed. Why? The biggest question mark is how well the run game will do without Missouri offensive player of the year, Andrew Hunt? He made the Rams line look better than they were in certain situations several times. If they can get the run game going close to where it was last year, then the offense will be very balanced and can score on anybody at will. Plus this is a team that tends to improve as the season goes on and on. Assuming they stay in Class 4 (most likely), Ladue will be favored to return to the state championship while an undefeated season is very much an attainable goal.