Sports

Belleville East looks to clinch playoff bid with win over Collinsville

Are they or aren’t they?

With a regular-season ending win at home against Collinsville on Friday, it’s a question which won’t keep first year Belleville East football coach Kris Stephens and his Lancers football team tossing and turning wondering about on Friday night.

Sitting with a record of 5-3 and tied with Belleville West and O’Fallon for second place in the Southwestern Conference with league mark of 4-2, the Lancers look to extend their season at least another week with a Class 8A playoff bid when they take on the Kahoks at Belleville East High School.

The scenario is a clear one for East. A win will give the Lancers the IHSA required six wins. But currently with 37 playoff points, a loss could put East squarely on the playoff bubble.

“Traditionally, the cutoff has been 39-40 points to get in. We’ve got 37. If we win we’ve got six wins and we’re automatically in. If not we’ll have 39 points. I’m not saying,’’ Stephens said. “It’s been a good season — up to this point.

“Being a head coach at East this year as been far more then I ever imagined. It’s been tremendous. But it’s gone by so quickly. It seems like we were just getting the pads out then we had homecoming and now we’re getting ready for our last regular season game.’’

The Lancers may be preparing for their final regular season game, but the status of senior quarterback Drew Millas was still unknown as of Wednesday afternoon. Millas suffered concussion like symptoms early in the Lancers loss to O’Fallon last week and was limited to light conditioning in the early part of the week.

“It’s still up in the air. Drew still has a couple of tests he needs to pass. We are preparing Kienen (Waller) if Drew can’t go.’’

Unfortuantly, Collinsville’s first year coach Rick Reinhart is preparing his Kahokos for their final game of the season. Collinsville has been the hard-luck team of the season, losing a 24-22 heart breaker to Althoff in week one, then dropping a 21-20 decision to Triad in week. Both Althoff and Triad are 8-0 for the season.

“Had it not been for a one point loss and a two point loss, we’d be talking playoffs this week as well,’’ Reinhart said in a phone interview on Wednesday. “It’s disappoitning but the kids have worked hard and we feel like we’ve got the pgoram heading in the right direction with a young coaching staff.’’

Friday’s Game: Collinsville (3-3, 3-5) at Belleville East (4-2, 5-3), 7 p.m.

Last week: Collinsville defeated East St. Louis by forfeit 2-0; O’Fallon defeated Belleville East 38-28

Rankings: Collinsville is ranked eighth in the News-Democrat Large School football poll; Belleville East is ranked second in Large School poll

Last meeting: Belleville East defeated Collinsville 35-7 a year ago.

Scouting the Kahoks

The offense has been inconsistent at times for the Kahoks but quarterback Jordan Reichert has thrown for 338 yards and three touchdowns while running back Max Lyons had rushed for over 250 yards and five scores

Defensive back Sean Bonham leads Collinsville in tackles with 35, including 19 solos.

And while the Kahoks numbers aren’t that impressive, Stephens is concerned about the matchup.

“I don’t know what they think of themselves, but we think they are a very good football team,’’ Stephens said. “Defensively, they have good speed and athletes who fly around he football field. On offense they’ve had trouble putting points on the board a few times, but they have some play makers.’’

Scouting the Lancers

Even without Millas, the Lancers put up 28 points in a 38-28 loss to O’Fallon — including a pair of defensive scores. Running back Moses Holman has rushed for 500 yards and five touchdowns while Millas has two of the top wide receivers in the SWC of which to work, Isaiah King has 41 catches for 661 yards and 12 touchdowns while Quantavius Alexander has caught 36 passes for 385 yards and a touchdown.

“They (Belleville) East are an excellent football team acorss the board,’’ Reinhart said. On offense, they are big and strong up front, have a solid running game and a pair of very good wide receivers who have great speed on the outside.

“On defense its the same way. They get after it and they like to hit. Their special teams are also very solid.’’

Maroons likely in

With one more win Friday, the Belleville West Maroons are all but certain to earn a Class 7A state football playoff berth.

West technically remains a bubble team at 4-4, but holds more playoff points than half the teams that have already secured their place in the field of 32. It has more points than all but three of the 11 remaining teams still in contention.

A team's playoff points is equal to the total number of wins amassed by its opponents.

This only matters, of course, if the Maroons win at Alton (1-7) Friday night. A loss to the Redbirds, knocks them down to 4-5 and out of contention.

At least one team will be eliminated from playoff contention Friday when 4-4 Arlington Heights faces 5-3 Rolling Meadows. Rolling Meadows could knock Arlington Heights to 4-5 and out of the playoffs. Arlington Heights would lose its spot with a loss, however, since its current playoff point total is the lowest among all remaining contenders.

The worst case scenario for West is that 10 teams will be left to contend for seven playoff spots. the Maroons' 38 points currently rank No. 4 in the field of contending teams that still haven't clinched.

They'll pick up a minimum of three more points from other Southwestern Conference games

- Todd Eschman contributed information

Dean Criddle: 618-239-2661, @CriddleDean

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