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August 14, 2011The numbers are startling. In a 2010 playoff loss, Park Hill High School surrendered 400 yards rushing on 45 carries to Staley. In the two rivals' first matchup of the year, the Trojans allowed 241 yards on 34 carries. How'd that happen? Staley didn't run at defensive tackle Ondre Pipkins ...
"That's not where we got our 400 yards," Staley coach Fred Bouchard said. "We made most of our yards on the perimeter. We had two very good backs, one that is committed to Missouri for next year [three-star Morgan Steward] and another that is playing Division II this year [Evan Campbell], and we had a very good offensive line, a center that battled hard and got a lot of help from our guards."
Pipkins, all 6-3, 325 pounds of him, was a force in the contest, playing exclusively on defense for the first time all year after logging more than 100 snaps per game as both an offensive and defensive tackle.
"We don't rush for 400 yards or anywhere close to that if we run at him," said Bouchard, whose team prevailed 28-6 on three fourth-quarter touchdowns.
"That kid has great explosion and punch off the ball. When he's tuned into the flow of the game, it's impressive the plays he makes. He'll chase players from gap to gap. He had a nice play on Evan - here's this 300-pounder chasing down a 160-pound running back, diving for him, getting him by the back of his jersey and throwing him to the ground.
"There are times where he chooses to go, go go and he's pretty destructive in the middle of the field. Almost unblockable, even with two or three kids. I can understand why everybody in the country is so enamored with him."
The four-star out of Kansas City, ranked the No. 246 player in the country, picked Michigan over Ohio State and Missouri on Monday.
He has an entire high school year to improve himself and he's already made gains this summer.
"One of the things I hear about Ondre from my own kids that see him at all these combines is that his effort and consistency keeps getting better and better," Bouchard said. "The bar he's capable of meeting keeps getting set higher and higher.
"The other thing I hear from them and what I've heard from [Park Hill coach] Greg Reynolds too is that he's a great kid, friendly, positive, upbeat. He's the kind of kid that makes for a good teammate and if Coach Reynolds is saying that, you can take it to the bank because he's honest. And he thinks the world of the him."
Pipkins' family home rests just two miles from the Staley border, and Bouchard laughs thinking about what could have been.
"I wish their car would have run out of gas," he joked.
"He's a kid, from what I've heard, that you'd love to coach, and to play against ... well my kids keeping tell me, 'He's gotten better coach,' and that's not good news for us."
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