East St. Louis coach Darren Sunkett still has vivid memories of the Flyers' 20-12 season-opening loss at Kansas City (Mo.) Rockhurst in 2012.
Those memories are not pleasant.
"The thing I remember about that game is the mistakes,'' Sunkett said. "Things like turning the ball over at inopportune times and poor timing between our quarterback and receivers. It was our first game, but that shouldn't matter. First game or ninth game, you've got to be ready to go.''
The Flyers will get another shot at Rockhurst on Friday, when they host the perennial Missouri power at Clyde Jordan Stadium.
Friday's game: Kansas City (Mo.) Rockhurst at East St. Louis, 7 p.m.
Last meeting: Rockhurst defeated East St. Louis 20-12 last season in Kansas City, Mo.
2012 records: Rockhurst finished 9-3, East St. Louis was 8-3, losing in the second round of the Class 7A playoffs to Edwardsville.
Sunkett on the Hawklets: "When you talk about Rockhurst, you are talking about one of the top high school programs in the country. Coach (Tony) Severino always has his kids well prepared and ready to play.''
Rockhurst's top players: QB T.J. Green; RB-WR Ahmad Tyler; TE-DT Luke Arbanas, OL-DL Jayke Simsheuser.
East St. Louis' top players: DT-OL Terry Beckner, RB Natereace Strong, DB Greg Taylor, OL-DL Luther Wright, LB Kyron Watson, WR-DB Travon Prater.
The Flyers edge? Watch for Flyers defensive tackle Terry Beckner and the rest of the Flyers' defensive front to be the keys to the game. Rockhurst has five new starters on the offensive line.
Big challenge for East St. Louis: The Hawklets will be big up front. "They'll probably average 280-300 pounds on the offensive line and 270-285 on defense," Sunkett said. "How do you offset that? You go right at them."
The polls: East St. Louis is ranked second in the Associated Press Class 6A state poll released Wednesday. Rockhurst is ranked third in Missouri's Class 6.
Fun facts: Rockhurst quarterback T.J. Green is the son of former St. Louis Rams and Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Trent Green. ... Combined, East St. Louis and Rockhurst have won 15 state championships. Rockhurst has won eight Missouri state championships, the most recent coming in 2007. East St. Louis has seven state title. The last was the Class 7A state title in 2008.