Had the Belleville West Maroons not packed up and left O'Fallon High School on Saturday, Brian Hill might still be blazing trails all over the Panthers' artificial turf.
Hill had a game to remember when he returned an interception 97 yards for a touchdown, caught a 20-yard TD pass and ran for two more TDs in West's 55-38 Southwestern Conference victory over O'Fallon.
"He's explosive and he's got another gear," O'Fallon coach Brandon Joggerst said of Hill, a Division I prospect at safety who also is a threat to score every time he touches the ball on offense. "He's versatile and plays both ways. He's a very good high school football player."
It was a busy afternoon for Hill, who ran six times for 31 yards, caught two passes for 62 yards, had a kickoff return, two interceptions, a punt return and 10 tackles (eight solos).
Hill and the Maroons (5-0 overall, 3-0 in the league) will be at home Friday for a much-anticipated SWC showdown against Edwardsville (5-0, 3-0).
Edwardsville is first in the News-Democrat Large-School (Class 5A-8A) rankings and fifth in the state 7A poll, while Belleville West is second in the News-Democrat poll and eighth in the 7A state rankings.
Not to be overlooked Saturday was the production of the O'Fallon offense. Seven turnovers --including five interceptions --derailed the Panthers, but they also had school-record performances by sophomore quarterback Camden Bauer (33-of-53, 560 yards, five TDs, five interceptions) and receivers Tae'Mon Franklin (nine catches, 215 yards, two TDs), Klayton Gettis (12 catches, 169 yards) and Patrick Riley (seven catches, 143 yards).
According to Illinois High School Association records, Bauer's 560-yard day was the fifth-highest total in state history. The record-holder is Riverside-Brookfield's Tim Brasic, who threw for 589 yards against Joliet Catholic in 2001.
Joggerst said Bauer, who had to pick himself up off the turf several times after hard hits, continues to learn and improve.
"He's a very intuitive and smart kid," Joggerst said. "He'll watch (film) and realize what mistakes he can learn from and build upon. Sometimes it's not always the quarterback; when you check film it could be the protection, it could be the receivers running routes.
"He'll build from this. He's going to be a very good one.
Frazier out for season
Althoff coach Ken Turner confirmed Monday that talented senior receiver Luke Frazier is out for six to eight weeks with a fractured left ankle. Frazier was injured in the second quarter of Friday's 58-7 South Seven Conference victory over Centralia.
Turner said Frazier, who has battled injuries throughout his career, will undergo surgery Thursday. Frazier leads Althoff with five TDs and also has 22 catches for a team-leading 329 yards.
"It's real sad because it's his senior year and he was doing so well," Turner said of Frazier, who also missed time last season because of a broken bone in his leg. "It's strange. It's the same Friday two years in a row. Just bad luck."
Turner said he will rotate Malik Easley and Dennis Jackson at the wingback and receiver slots to join receivers Keenen Young, Austin Mueller and Collin McClellan.
Dupo finds the win column
After a 0-3 start under new head coach Tim Nelson, the Dupo Tigers have knocked off Cahokia Conference rivals Red Bud (28-12) and Wesclin (42-21) to gain some confidence.
Nelson was encouraged even in previous defeats against Central and Columbia. The Tigers trailed unbeaten Columbia 14-13 heading into the fourth quarter before the Eagles pulled away for a 42-21 win.
The Tigers have come a long way from their nine turnovers in a season-opening 32-16 loss to Sparta (1-4). In the last three weeks, they have posted 368 yards of offense against Columbia, followed by 370 against Red Bud and 466 against Wesclin.
"The kids are starting to figure out the option offense," Nelson said.
Dupo senior defensive end Levi Hall has an area-leading 10 sacks.
A balanced rushing attack includes Tyler Barnes (73 carries, 409 yards, six TDs), quarterback Brett Aldridge (55 carries, 381 yards, seven TDs) and Kyle LaChance (41 carries, 334 yards, two TDs).
"My expectations are very high and I'm very particular on how I want things done," Nelson said. "If we're not meeting those expectations, we spend a lot of time on the small things in practice.
"The biggest adjustment is them adjusting to me. They're beginning to have an idea of how the offense works and we're becoming more fluid."