Edwardsville capitalized on Belleville West’s first-half mistakes Friday and turned what was expected to be a tight game into a rout.
Junior quarterback Kendall Abdur-Rahman rushed for five touchdowns and passed for another as the Tigers ripped the Maroons 45-14 in a Southwestern Conference game.
Abdur-Rahman scored on runs of 39, 2, 3, 6 and 7 yards and fired a 5-yard TD pass to sophomore Lavontas Hairston. Edwardsville, which improved to 5-3 overall and 5-1 in the SWC, extended its winning streak to five and became playoff-eligible.
“I didn’t expect this kind of victory,” said Edwardsville coach Matt Martin, whose team led 31-0 at halftime. “I’m proud of our kids. I thought it was a huge game for us. ... I’m really happy for this group of boys and happy for all the coaches in this program.”
Abdur-Rahman finished with 16 carries and 149 yards. Freshman running back Justin Johnson added 22 carries for 136 yards as the Tigers controlled the line of scrimmage.
West (5-3, 4-2) senior LaMondre’ Carter fumbled two kickoffs that led to 10 points by the Tigers, and the Maroons also were called for two roughing-the-punter penalties that gave Edwardsville first downs.
A pass interference call on the Maroons led to Edwardsville’s final first-half touchdown. Maroons sophomore quarterback Jackson McCloskey threw a second-half interception, and junior running back DeUndrey Johnson, who scored both touchdowns for West, had a fumble that was recovered by the Tigers.
“Lots of mistakes,” West coach Cameron Pettus said. “They punched us right in the mouth coming out. We weren’t ready for it. ... Against a good team like that, with a quarterback like that, you don’t want him to have the freakin’ ball at all.
“That didn’t look like our Belleville West football team that first half. It’s frustrating.”
The Maroons righted themselves somewhat at halftime and got within 31-14 in the third quarter on Johnson’s TD runs of 2 yards and 54 yards. But Abdur-Rahman countered with his 6-yard scoring run, then closed his big performance with a 7-yard TD that made it 45-14.
“Belleville West has one of the best front sevens in our conference,” Abdur-Rahman said. “We knew that coming in. We knew it was going to be a dogfight. Our O-line did a great job adjusting to everything. That basically opened everything up. They couldn’t stop the run, and our offensive line gave us a chance to run the ball.”
Pettus said Abdur-Rahman’s speed is capable of stressing any defense.
“He’s lightning in a bottle,” Pettus said. “He’s not the best thrower in the world, but boy, he can run, and if you can run like that ... He’s tough to contain. He’s so fast. You think you’ve got him contained on a play, but he squirts through there, and he can hit the jets and he’s gone. That’s scary because our defense usually can run pretty good.”
Johnson finished with 16 carries for 128 yards for West. Senior Kriston Davis had just seven carries for 18 yards as he missed time after taking a hit to the shin.
David Wilhelm: @DavidMWilhelm