Althoff at Cahokia: Both teams battling for playoff spot

News-DemocratOctober 17, 2013 

Down, but not out after an 0-3 start this season, Cahokia coach Antwyne Golliday didn't panic.

Instead, Golliday and the Comanches regrouped.

"We were going through some things early on," Golliday said. After the (Miller) Career Academy game, the kids were really down, but I just told them that if we could get some things straightened out heading into the (South Seven) conference that the season could still be saved.

"We won a game and the kids started buying into what we were telling them.

Winners of three of its last four games, Cahokia can wrap up the South Seven Conference title and automatic playoff berth today when it hosts Althoff.

Friday's game: Althoff (3-4, 2-2) at Cahokia (3-4, 3-1), 7 p.m.

Last meeting: Althoff defeated Cahokia 7-6 in a defensive struggle. Garland Henley scored on a 5-yard run in the first quarter and the Crusaders' defense made it hold up against a tough Comanches squad.

What's at stake for Althoff: Although still with an outside chance of grabbing a share of the South Seven Conference title, the Crusaders more than likely need to finish 5-4 to hopefully earn an at-large playoff spot. Althoff closes the regular season on Oct. 25 at Triad (2-5).

Althoff coach Ken Turner on the Crusaders' playoff chances: "We knew coming into last week against Carbondale that we probably had to win our last three games to have a chance to make the playoffs. Right now, we're preparing each week like it's a playoff game. Aside from the bumps and bruises that you have at this time of year, we're healthy and ready to go.''

Althoff players to watch: QB Eric Mertens (126 of 213 passing for 1,585 yards with 21 TDs and 10 Ints.) RB Dennis Jackson (82 carrier for 411 yards and a TD); WR Keenen Young (41 receptions for 510 yards and 3 TDs); WR Austin Mueller (18 catches for 235 yards and 3 TDs); LB Aaron Medina (95 tackles, 78 solos).

Cahokia players to watch: QB Darby Perry (11 of 33 for 196 yards for aTD and 2 Ints.); RB Keenan Hogan (71 carries for 744 yards and 12 TDs); RB Robert Mosby (53 carries for 290 yards and a TD); LB Marcell Scurlark (42 tackles, 31 solos, 10 sacks).

Golliday on the Althoff-Cahokia rivalry: "No matter what the records are, you know Althoff-Cahokia is going be a battle. The fact that both of us need a win to keep our playoff hopes going just adds more to it. I know coach Turner will have his kids ready and we'll be ready as well.''

Turner on contrasting styles: "Cahokia comes right at you. They are big and physical and the running back (Young) has really played well the last few weeks. With Eric (Mertens), of course, we look to pass the football. But like most games, it's going to come down to which team makes the fewest mistakes and doesn't turn the ball over."

Notes: Althoff quarterback Eric Mertens has spread the wealth this season as six different Crusaders receivers have 10 or more receptions and eight receivers have caught at least one touchdown pass.

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