Led by what coach Darren Sunkett feels will be a more experienced and much-improved defensive unit and top passing combinations in junior quarterback Reyondus Estes and junior-all-state wide receiver Jeff Thomas, East St. Louis could be one of the top Class 6A teams in the state this fall. Thomas caught 57 passes for 1,152 yards and 12 touchdowns a year ago while scoring 22 touchdowns in all.
The Flyers will be big and strong, but young on the offensive line. Leading the way is 6-5 295-pound University of Illinois recruit in Tre’vour Simms. Senior DeMarcus Watson also returns on the offensive line as well as starting tight end Carlos Humphries.
But for the Flyers to fly, they will need a big year from Estes. As a sophomore, the 6-2, 185-pound Estes threw for nearly 1,800 yards and 20 touchdowns a year ago. Thomas will be the main target with a much improved senior Karon Randolph, Raekwon Griffin and Jermain Grissom expected to take the pressure off Thomas.
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Sunkett said the running back positions are still up from grabs and that the ground attack will be by committee, at least early in season.
A young East St. Louis defensive unit gave up a lot of points a year ago. With three starters returning on the defensive line, a group of strong and quick linebackers and a secondary, which will be led by Thomas, the Flyers should be better this fall.
Gone up front is all-American defensive end Terry Beckner Jr . — now at the University of Missouri — but LaMontre’ Harvey, Antuan Quinlin and Terres Lagrome, are quick agile linemen who return.
Junior James Knight, third on the team in tackles with 69, will anchor the Flyers defense at linebacker while Tyler Cook, Stanley Green, Demond Bell, Ahmad Willis and Thomas will anchor the defensive backfield.
— Dean Criddle
at Chicago Simeon
at Belleville West
at (Cincinnati) St. Xavier
at Lombard Montini
at Granite City
at Belleville West
at Peoria Richwoods
at Peoria Notre Dame