EAST ST. LOUIS — When East St. Louis football legends Julyon Brown and Dana Howard came up with the idea for the City of Champions Classic, they wanted to showcase some of the top high school gridiron talent in the Midwest.
This year Howard and Brown have hit their mark. Five teams ranked in the top 10 in respective classes -- including three from the Southwestern Conference -- will put it on the line on Saturday when the City of Champions Classic is held at Clyde Jordan Stadium in East St. Louis.
The day of football kicks off at noon when Edwardsville, ranked fifth in the Class 7A poll, takes on St. Louis Soldan.
At 2:45 p.m. the battle of the Class 8A state powers takes place when top-ranked (Wilmette) Loyola Academy takes on No. 4 ranked O'Fallon.
Host East St. Louis, ranked second in Class 6A, takes on Class 5A top-ranked and four-time defending state champion Lombard Montini in the finale at 5:45 p.m.
"It should be a great day of high school football. We just hope people come out and enjoy themselves,'' Brown said on Tuesday. "Montini's record speaks for itself with four straight state titles and Loyola is also one of the top programs in the state year after year.
"The O'Fallon-Loyola game and East St. Louis-Montini game should be very entertaining with the numbers of excellent players that those teams possess and even though I think Soldan may have their hands full with Edwardsville, you've got six very good teams.''
Tickets are priced at $15 and are good for all three games. Also during the day, former East St. Louis boys track coach John Davis, legendary East St. Louis girls track coach Nino Fennoy and longtime East St. Louis High School athletic department administrative assistant Jackie Wright will be honored as part of the pre-game and halftime activities.
Brown also added on Tuesday that on Friday beginning at 5 p.m. there will be an East St. Louis alumni game at Clyde Jordan Stadium.
Brown said that he has gotten word that more than 100 former East St. Louis, East St. Louis Lincoln and Assumption players have said they will participate.
Brown, who went on to star at the University of Illinois after his high school career, said he plans to play.
"I may get out there and go for series or two,'' Brown said. "But I'm not going to get crazy about it. It should be a fun night. It's the City of Champions Classic and we invite everybody out from the St. Louis area to watch some great football on Saturday.
The alumni game is open to the public and admission is free.
Contact reporter Dean Criddle at 239-2661 or email@example.com