Two tough defenses collide as West clashes with O'Fallon

News-DemocratSeptember 28, 2013 

Shredding opponents on the ground through the first four games, unbeaten Belleville West has averaged 43.5 points and more than 253 yards rushing with 16 rushing touchdowns.

A physical, effective offensive line, coupled with a mobile quarterback and two high-quality running backs, has helped make that happen.

But this week the Maroons will face Southwestern Conference rival O'Fallon and a Panther defense that slammed the door on East St. Louis in a 10-6 victory.

"We're definitely excited about the direction we're going," said West coach Cameron Pettus, whose team is searching for its first conference title since 1976. "In our conference there's a bunch of them to go, so you've got to get geared up for the next one and that's O'Fallon. They've got a very good defense, they attack well and play a tough man coverage.

"That front seven is pretty nasty. You've definitely got to know where (Dewayne Hendrix) is and what they've got going on."

Saturday's game: Belleville West (4-0, 2-0 in the SWC; ranked 8th in Class 7A) at O'Fallon (3-1, 2-0 in the SWC; ranked 6th in Class 8A), 1 p.m.

Last meeting: It was all about the defense last year as O'Fallon got a late 42-yard field goal from Austin Barnes and knocked off West in a 10-7 slugfest. O'Fallon was held to minus-4 yards rushing on 24 carries, but got 353 yards passing.

O'Fallon has held West to a touchdown or less while winning the last three games, but the Maroons won three straight before that.

Along with Hendrix, a major Division I recruit, the O'Fallon defense should benefit from the return of highly regarded linebacker Micquell Cotton.

"We were pretty solid in all parts of the defense last week, all the units were pretty much in tune," O'Fallon coach Brandon Joggerst said. "That was an effort to be proud of, but there's no time to relax on that one because here come another solid offensive team averaging 40 points a game.

"The quarterback controls their offense and he's throwing the ball much better this year."

What to watch for: West has been extremely stingy against the run led by Division I linebacker recruit Tori Millender. The Maroons are capable of forcing O'Fallon out of a balanced attack on offense.

"Their tailback is very talented," Pettus said of sophomore Kentrail Moran. "He's a great running back and they've got a receiver that can burn you deep, too."

West players to watch: LB Tori Millender (43 tackles); QB Sherand Boyd (35-57, 534 yards, 6 TDs, 1 Int.; 260 yards rushing, 4 TDs); RB Antoine Davis (53 carries, 354 yards, 3 TDs); RB-DB Brian Hill (26 carries, 332 yards, 8 TDs; 24 tackles); WR Brendan Saak (14 catches, 299 yards, 2 TDs); kicker Austin Seibert (5 FG, 20 XP).

O'Fallon players to watch: DL Dewayne Hendrix (27 tackles, 6 sacks); RB Kentrail Moran (94 carries, 474 yards, 1 TD); WR Tae'Mon Franklin (12 catches, 243 yards, 4 TDs); WR-DB Klayton Gettis (19 catches, 156 yards, 3 TDs; 9 tackles); QB Camden Bauer (58-107, 621 yards, 7 TDs, 5 Ints.); kicker Tucker McCann (7 FG, 8 XP).

Fun fact: West kicker Austin Seibert and O'Fallon kicker Tucker McCann are both Division I prospects with plenty of leg on field-goal tries and kickoffs.

Contact reporter Norm Sanders at 239-2454, or on Twitter @NormSanders

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