Varsity Zone

A scouting report of East St. Louis, Rockhurst's opening-week football opponent

Updated: 2013-08-29T22:24:53Z

By SAM MCDOWELL

The Kansas City Star

For the second straight season, the Rockhurst Hawklets will open their football schedule with a pair of out-of-state opponents.

Rockhurst will travel to East St. Louis — that's in Illinois, not Missouri — on Friday night. It's a rematch of last year's season opener, in which Rockhurst defeated East St. Louis by a touchdown, 20-13.

Naturally, this brings up an intriguing question: Is East St. Louis any good?

Well, yes. The program is quite good, actually.

The Flyers finished 8-3 last season in Illinois Class 7 — Class 8 is the biggest in the state — and the school is 100-30 in 11 years under coach Darren Sunkett.

East St. Louis isn't short on talent this year, either.

Junior defensive tackle Terry Beckner is ranked by ESPN as the second best high school defensive tackle in his class. Beckner (6-4, 268) will have his pick of the lot when it comes to selecting a college. He already has 19 Division I offers.

Flyers running back Natereace Strong, also a junior, has already received offers from a bevy of schools, including Kansas and Missouri, along with Florida State and Ohio State.

To reach Sam McDowell, send email to smcdowell@kcstar.com. Follow him at twitter.com/SamMcDowell11.

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