Granite City rushed for 387 yards Friday night and came away with a confidence-building 25-13 victory over visiting Marion.
Senior Quinton Jackson rushed for 177 yards and one touchdown and sophomore Willie Beckwith rushed for 154 yards and two touchdowns to spark the Warriors.
Beckwith's second touchdown run, which came in the fourth quarter, put the Warriors ahead to stay after they had fallen behind 13-12. Jackson sealed the outcome with a touchdown run with about five minutes to play.
Granite City coach Carl Luehmann, whose team was 1-8 last season, never expected to have such a prodigious rushing attack.
"That many yards? Not against a well-coached Marion team," Luehmann said. "Our offensive line did well and kept working and working and working. We popped off a couple of big runs and chewed up the clock.
"That's a big win for these kids and this program. We're young and we're going to make some mistakes. (But) we only had one fumbled snap and that was on the last play of the game."
Granite City led 6-0 in the first quarter and 12-6 at halftime before the Wildcats took their third-quarter lead at 13-12.
Jackson and Beckwith continued to batter away at Marion behind a strong push from Granite City's offensive line.
"The kids played real well," Luehmann said. "They're working hard and it paid off. I couldn't ask for anything more of my players or my coaches."
Sophomore quarterback Gabe Jarman was 9-for-14 for 61 yards in his first varsity start.
Carlyle 26, Nashville 22
Billy Cummins was 9-for-17 for 233 yards and four touchdowns as the Indians held off Nashville.
Deven Hicks had four catches for 115 yards, including touchdown catches of 45 yard and 40 yards. Tommy Cummins added a 59-yard touchdown catch and John Becker had a 40-yard scoring grab.
Freeburg 29, Massac County 26
Michael Davinroy had a 52-yard interception return for a touchdown and a 76-yard TD run to lead Freeburg, which trailed 13-2 at halftime.
Robby Vall had an 85-yard kickoff return for a TD and Keegan Baxmeyer had a 13-yard TD run. The Midgets rushed for 255 yards.
Waterloo 14, Herrin 3
Waterloo got a 19-yard touchdown run from Taylor Vernier and a 39-yard TD pass from Zach Schaab to Austin Campbell and the Bulldogs' defense shut down Herrin for a nonconference win.
Herrin's only score came on a 49-yard field by Josh Haynes with two seconds left in the first half.
Red Bud 22, Pinckneyville 12
After an 0-9 season in 2012, Red Bud started 2013 on the right track with a strong second half to beat Pinckneyville. Brandon Fadler tossed a 36-yard TD pass to Cameron Schulte and Dustin Sauer added a 54-yard TD run with 3:11 remaining.
Red Bud's other score came on a 19-yard TD run by Dustin Sauer.
Columbia 48, Wood River 0
Six different players scored touchdowns as the Eagles dismantled Wood River in their season opener.
Stephan Isaac had a fumble recovery in end zone, Nick Antonini had a 9-yard run, Brendan Wilhelm had a 7-yard TD pass from Jacob Hill, Lou Isringhaus had a 21-yard TD run, Hill had a 21-yard run, Kenny Fields had a 6-yard TD run and Jake Stone added a 35-yard interception return for a TD.