A key Southwestern Conference football game between two state-ranked team has been cancelled due to the East St. Louis School District 189 teachers’ strike.
East St. Louis reported the forfeit to the Illinois High School Association on Friday.
Edwardsville, No. 7 in Illinois Class 8A, was to face off with East St. Louis at Clyde C. Jordan Stadium at 7 p.m. Instead, the Tigers improved to 6-0 and secured their fifth straight state playoffs berth with a forfeit win. The Flyers, No. 7 in Class 7A, fell to 3-3.
East St. Louis would qualify for the postseason by winning its final three games against Belleville East (3-2), Collinsville (1-4), and O’Fallon (1-4). Taking a fourth loss, either on the field or by forfeit, would complicate the Flyers’ playoff prospects.
The tie-breaking cutoff for 5-4 teams that qualify for the playoffs is playoff points, which equal the total number of wins by a team’s opponents. It has traditionally taken between 36 and 40 points to get in.
Through Week 6, the Flyers have 23 points and will continue to benefit by the future wins of quality teams on its schedule. Those include Montini (5-0), Edwardsville (6-0), Chicago Simeon (3-2), Belleville West (3-2) and Belleville East (3-2).
If the strike lingers, the point could be moot.
The forfeited game Friday already has impacted the race for the Southwestern Conference championship.
Belleville West preserved an unblemished conference record with its win over East St. Louis last week. The Maroons have to knock off Belleville East on Saturday, however, to keep pace with the Tigers, who now get the week off. The two teams square off Oct. 9 in Belleville.
“That’s not something we’ve concerned ourselves with; there’s no point in focusing on something we can’t control,” West coach Cameron Pettus said. “Coming out of the preseason, winning the conference is a goal. I mean, that’s No. 1. Our conference is really good and you have to be really good to win it.”