If the Belleville West defense thought Edwardsville's option plays with the quarterback looked familiar, they should have.
Just as West quarterback Sherand Boyd does, Edwardsville quarterback Dan Marinko is a magician with faking a handoff to the running back and then pulling it back before taking off himself.
"It's pretty much exactly what we do, they pretty much do the same thing," said West coach Cameron Pettus, whose team lost 45-14 to the Tigers with Marinko doing much of the damage. "They do a good job carrying out their fakes and it was confusing for our guys. Usually what we do to other people, they did to us.
"We all messed up that night. I wasn't so much mad at the kids as I was at myself."
Marinko completed 22-of-30 passes for 320 yards and four touchdowns, also rushing for 93 yards on the night. That included a 50-yard run on one of those aforementioned option plays.
It was the third straight game with Marinko going over 300 yards passing.
But detail-oriented Edwardsville Tigers coach Matt Martin zeroed in on one play Friday night he felt exemplified Marinko's importance to the team.
Marinko seemed to lose a fumble after being sacked by the Maroons, but managed to root his way back into the pile to grab it back.
"They ran a delayed blitz and (West star linebacker Tori) Millender came wide open and hit him," Martin said. "Millender had the ball and Danny fought for it and ripped it back out of his hands. That's the kind of kid he is. He is a tremendous competitor."
He's also 93-of-130 passing this season for 1,430 yards and 18 touchdowns, threatening school records for single-season yardage and TDs.
Pettus also was impressed with a rock-solid Edwardsville defense that seemed to sniff out everything the Maroons were trying to do.
"Their defense is so disciplined and ours played with a lack of discipline, I felt," Pettus said. "That was the deciding factor between the two teams."
West QB to get further tests
Boyd suffered an apparent left knee injury with 7 minutes, 8 seconds remaining in the third quarter Friday against Edwardsville and appeared to be in a lot of pain on the sidelines.
Pettus said Monday that x-rays were negative, but Boyd will undergo an MRI exam on Tuesday.
"It's not like he got pinned back or somebody hit it," Pettus said. "I didn't think it was an ACL-type injury, but you never know."
If Boyd can't play this week against Collinsville, Pettus said he would use running back-safety Brian Hill at quarterback with sophomore receiver TeAntez Anthony another possibility.
Hill saw time at quarterback Friday against Edwardsville.
Ready for the playoffs
Edwardsville (6-0), Highland (6-0) and Columbia (6-0) became the first metro-east teams to clinch state playoff berths with their victories on Friday. All three are in the state rankings and appear on course to win their respective conferences, barring an upset.
Mater Dei hanging tough
Even with his team at 4-2, Mater Dei coach Jim Stiebel realizes there is no easy road to the state playoffs.
The Knights play host to Priory (3-3) of St. Louis this week, a team they lost to 56-21 a year ago when Priory ran the ball 56 times for 367 yards.
"They're talented and gifted with some solid players," Stiebel said. "They're very similar to the team they had last year, they're just a little smaller up front."
Mater Dei running back Jordan Ratermann racked up 154 yards and two TDs on 17 carries against Priory in 2012.
Ratermann, who has been playing with a cast to protect a fractured bone in his wrist, leads the Knights with 615 yards rushing and 13 TDs.
"It's kind of tough to throw to him here and there, but he's still going well," Stiebel said. "He's been solid, very consistent."
He's also got a team-leading 38 tackles to go along with two sacks at linebacker.
Still ahead for the Knights after Priory are Jacksonville (4-2) and Waterloo (3-3).
Jacksonville plays in the loaded Central State Eight Conference and the Crimsons only losses are to league rivals Chatham Glenwood (21-7) and Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin (65-14).
The Knights are still without top receiver Jared Thole (ankle sprain) while Stiebel said lineman Joe Hemann has returned from a partially torn knee ligament (medial collateral ligament).
"The team knows exactly what we have to do," Stiebel said. "We can't look ahead. If we get this one, then we look at the next one. I like the attitude of our team and the leadership of our team. We just have a tough schedule, we play some very challenging teams."