Haunted by mistakes and the big play during the first two weeks of the season, the Belleville East Lancers turned the tables Friday at Kevin Greene Field.
Junior running back Dontae Lee and linebacker Rakweon Ramsey scored touchdowns 26 seconds apart early in the second quarter, as the Lancers broke open a close game and went on for a 43-14 win over the Warriors in a Southwestern Conference game.
“This is why we schedule the non-conference teams that we do. It’s to get us ready for the gauntlet we’ll see the next seven weeks in the Southwestern Conference,” said East coach Kris Stephens.“The defense stepped up tonight, forcing five turnovers, the special teams did the job with a pair of freshmen at placekicker and punter and the offense did what we needed it to do.
“When we needed to throw the football we did that well, and when we needed to run the ball and eat up some clock, we did that as well. We’re still got some work to do, but the kids prepared hard this week, and we were able to get it done.”
Belleville East led 16-14 after one quarter when Granite City sophomore quarterback Freddy Edwards was injured while playing defensive back.
Edwards was taken by ambulance to the hospital and did not return to the game. Granite City athletic director John Moad said Edwards suffered an injury to his right shoulder, the extent of which wasn’t known at press time.
“I don’t want to talk about Freddy until we know about the injury,” Warriors coach Carl Luehmann said. “Freddy knew he would be playing some defensive back. He did in Week 1.”
On the Warriors’ first play from scrimmage following the injury, the snap from center sailed over backup quarterback Austin Bonvicino, and the Lancers recovered inside the Granite City 10-yard line. Three plays later, Lee scored on a 1-yard run, and the Lancers’ lead was 23-14.
Following the kickoff, Bonvicino fumbled on the exchange, and Ramsey picked the ball up and ran 54 yards untouched to widen the Lancers’ lead to 30-14.
“The turnovers hurt us. We had some different personnel in the game. But while the team had some adversity, I was pleased at how we fought and battled in the second half,” Luehmann said.
East quarterback Kienan Waller threw touchdown passes to DeCarlos Johnson and Quantavius Alexander, freshman Alex Maxim booted field goals of 37 and 38 yards and Alexander ran 79 yards for a touchdown.
Before the injury, Edwards threw scoring passes of 65 and 39 yards to Jerry Watson. But after running for 427 yards and seven touchdowns to key the Warriors’ 2-0 start, Edwards had a minus 7 yards on six carries against the Lancers.
Belleville East (1-0, 1-2) is back at home at 1 p.m. Saturday against East St. Louis. Granite City (2-1, 0-1) will be at Edwardsville at 7 p.m. Friday.