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Cahokia Conference football capsules

Wesclin’s Gavin Bilbruck carries the ball during a game against Columbia last year.
Wesclin’s Gavin Bilbruck carries the ball during a game against Columbia last year. Chris Johns

The 2017 season turned out to be a banner one for the Cahokia Conference as four of its seven teams qualified for the IHSA playoffs. The Wesclin Warriors won their first league championship, finishing with a perfect 6-0 mark in the conference and 9-1 overall record.

Following are capsules on the seven teams in the Cahokia Conference

Note: Coaching records are for current schools only.

Carlyle Indians

Coach: Chris Birkner (4th year, 14-15)

2017 record: 7-4, 3-3 in conference

Playoffs: The Indians lost to Westville 46-28 in the second round of the Class 2A playoffs.

2018 opener: Aug. 24 at Nashville, 7 p.m.

Key Players returning: RB Landon Smith (166 carries, 931 yards, 10 TD’s); QB: Caleb Darr (33 of 55, 314 yards, 6 TD’s; 80 carries, 279 yards, 1 TD); LB: Dale Allen (123 tackles, 79 solos, 4 sacks); DB: Lane Heinzmann (71 tackles, 39 solos)

Central Cougars

Coach: Brian Short (60-46, 12th year)

2017 record: 4-5, 3-3 in conference

2018 opener:: Aug. 24, at Wood River, 7 p.m.

Key players returning: RB: Tyson Lobb (68 carries, 280 yards, 2 TD’s); WR: Alex Garcia (15 catches, 250 yards, 1 TD); WR-DB Garrett Richter (44 receptions, 715 yards, 3 TD’s; 59 tackles, 32 solos, 2 INT)

Columbia Eagles

Coach: Scott Horner (123-55, 18th year)

2017 record: 5-5, 4-2 in conference

Playoffs: The Eagles lost to Herscher 48-14 in first round of the Class 4A playoffs

2018 opener: Aug. 24 at Mascoutah, 7 p.m.

Key Players returning: RB: Donovan Bieber (41 carries 393 yards, 6 TD’s); QB: Nic Horner (96 of 171 for 1,317 yards, 16 TD’s, 5 Int.); WR: Sam Horner (16 receptions, 349 yards, 4 TD’s)

Freeburg Midgets

Coach: Ronnie Stuart (56-68, 14th year)

2017 record: 2-7, 0-6, in conference

2018 opener: Aug. 24 at Sparta, 7 p.m,.

Key players returning: WR: Zach Pluff (9 receptions, 155 yards, 3 TD’s); QB: Cal Clossen (67 of 122 for 1,002 yards, 10 TD’s, 8 int; 72 rushing attempts, 426 yards, 6 TD’s); WR: Brendan Meng (16 receptions for 241 yards, 4 TD’s); LB Mychale McDuiffy ( 50 tackles, 39 solos)

Red Bud Musketeers

Coach: David Lucht (67-85, 18th year)

2017 record: 6-4, 4-2

2017 playoffs: Red Bud lost to Eldorado 38-13 in the first round of the Class 2A playoffs

2018 opener: Aug. 24, Pinckneyville, 7 p.m.

Key Players returning: RB: Austin Melliere (58 attempts, 362 yards, 2 TD’s; 17 receptions, 246 yards, 1 TD); LB: Gage Baldwin (72 tackles, 41 solos)

Wesclin Warriors

Coach: Ray Kauling (0-0, 1st year)

2017 record: 9-1, 6-0 in conference

2017 playoffs: The Warriors lost to Pleasant Plains 51-20 in the first round of the Class 3A playoffs

2018 opener: Aug. 24, at Dupo, 7 p.m.

Key players returning: RB: Gavin Bilbruck (1,206 yards rushing, 15 touchdowns); OL: Jacob Brown, OL: Christian Bair, Grant Heier, and OL: Kolden Rapien.

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