Metro-east high school football and volleyball teams were busy over the weekend hoping to keep their seasons alive in state playoffs. Here’s how the weekend shook out:
▪ The East St. Louis Flyers took their show on the road to suburban Chicago, steamrolling Willowbrook 60-27 in the Class 7A quarterfinal game. East St. Louis has been the top-ranked 7A team in the state since the season began, and the Flyers are undefeated. They next face Lisle’s Benet Academy.
▪ In Class 4A action, Althoff Catholic High School blew a 19-point lead to the Rockets of Rochester High School in front of 3,000 spectators at Lindenwood University in Belleville Saturday, ending the Crusaders’ postseason run. Rochester won 48-47, avenging their loss last year against Althoff in the state quarterfinals. Althoff had lead 47-28 midway through the third quarter.
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▪ The season ended for the Edwardsville Tigers, too, as they suffered a 38-21 loss Saturday on their home turf to Glenbard West. The Hilltoppers, who are located in the Chicago suburb of Glen Ellyn and who moved up to Class 8A this year, were Class 7A state champions in 2015.
▪ Breese Mater Dei’s Class 4A semifinal game came down to a two-point conversion attempt with 6.8 seconds to play in the game. Slow motion cell phone video of Mater Dei fullback Trevor Johnson’s run may show differently, but the attempt was ruled unsuccessful by a referee and the Canton Little Giants escaped with a 43-42 win over the Knights. After watching footage of the play, Mater Dei head coach Jim Stiebel claimed the game had been stolen from his squad.
▪ Edwardsville’s path to the state tournament included a victory over regional rival O’Fallon, but the Tigers’ bid fell short Thursday, falling to Normal Community High School. A pair of Normal hitters who frustrated the Tigers all game literally stood tall: Rachel Maguire and Grace Cleveland are a combined 12-foot-3.
▪ Mascoutah’s volleyball team found itself in familiar territory Saturday after its Class 3A victory over Bloomington Central Catholic. It’s their second third-place finish in the state tournament in two years. The Indians made it to the state finals after defeating Columbia, but couldn’t withstand a strong effort by Taylorville.
▪ Another metro-east team won third place, too: A victory by Althoff over Chicago Latin in the Class 2A tournament Saturday ended the Crusaders’ season on a high note. They had hopes of reaching the championship game and looked poised to do so in their first game against St. Joseph-Ogden, but that effort ultimately fell short.