High School Sports

Unbeaten teams, surprise standouts among 5 things to watch in prep football Week 4

Mater Dei’s Travis Jasper carries the ball against Althoff Friday night in Breese.
Mater Dei’s Travis Jasper carries the ball against Althoff Friday night in Breese. Chris Johns

Battle of unbeatens

After combining to win just four games last year, the Freeburg Midgets and Mater Dei Knights find themselves as two of seven undefeated teams left in the metro east heading into week four of the 2018 high school football season.

That number will shrink by at least one in Breese Friday.

A week after riding into Clinton County to blank Cahokia Conference foe Central, the Midgets (3-0) return to Breese to take on the Knights (3-0) in a non-conference contest. Both Freeburg and Mater De finished with records of 2-7 a year ago.

Off to its first 3-0 start since the 2014 season, Freeburg has utilized the passing combination of Cal Clossen (10 touchdown passes) and wide receiver Brendan Meng (8 TDs) along with a stingy defense to outscore its three opponents 121-34. Currently 2-0 in the Cahokia Conference, Freeburg blanked Central 28-0 last week.

Mater Dei, which rolled past Althoff 47-0 in week three, has been equally impressive in the early going. Quarterback Travis Jasper (6 touchdown passes) and running back Logan Ratermann (352 yards, 5 TDs) have been two key players for the Knights who have outscored their opponents 123-33..

The best of the rest

The five other area undefeated teams will be tested this week as conference play heats up.

Also undefeated in Cahokia Conference play, the Columbia Eagles will put their high-powered offense on the line when they travel to Trenton to take on defending league champion Wesclin. The Warriors (1-2) have allowed 139 points in three games and were blanked by undefeated Nashville 54-0 a week ago.

Nashville plays at River-to-River Conference rival Anna-Jonesboro on Friday.

Belleville West faces what should be its toughest test of the young season when it puts its perfect record on the line at Alton against the athletic Redbids (2-1). The Maroons are coming off an impressive win on the road (28-10) at Fort Zumwalt West a week ago.

Class 5A state power Highland (3-0) which has outscored three opponents 105-21, returns to Mississippi Valley Conference play at Jersey (1-2) while Madison (3-0) takes on South Mac (1-2) at Mount Olive High School

Belleville East, Althoff still winless

While Belleville West is off, running and more than likely headed to another playoff berth, city rivals Belleville East and Althoff will try to break three-game losing streaks this week.

It’ll be a tall task for East, which opens Southwestern Conference play at Class 7A state power East St. Louis on Friday. East St. Louis, which was ranked third in the Class 7A state poll last week and is coming off an impressive 34-21 win at Edwardsville last week, has outscored Belleville East 110-18 in its previous two meetings.

Althoff also has a conference game on the road when it travels to Mount Vernon (1-2) for a South Seven Conference game. The Crusaders have been outscored 159-31 in its first three games, but haven’t lost to the Rams since 2013.

Wills, Smiley lead St. Louis area

The Mascoutah Indians and Dupo Tigers, two of the surprise teams in the metro east during the first three weeks of the season , have used outstanding individual performances to help them to a pair of wins.

Thanks to a 324 yard rushing performance last week in a 21-20 win over Mahomet-Seymour,, Mascoutah junior running back Devin Wills leads the St. Louis area in rushing yards (727) and total yards (756). Wills will try to add to that total on Friday when the Indians (2-1) travel to Waterloo.

Dupo, also 2-1, has displayed a wide-open offense which has wracked up 102 points during the first three weeks of the season. One of the main reasons for the Tigers offensive production has been wide receiver Devin Similey who leads the St. Louis area in receiving with 458 yards. Similey has 21 receptions, eight which have gone for touchdowns.

Dupo plays at Nokomis on Friday.

Key week 4 games

While the Freeburg at Mater Dei and Belleville West at Alton games are among the marquee matchups this week, several other key games are on rhe week four schedule as the high school season nears its midway point.

Edwardsville (1-2) looks to get back on track when it hosts Chicago power Waubonsie Valley while Collinsville (1-2) plays at O’Fallon (1-2) in a Southwestern Conference game.

Along with the Columbia at Wesclin game in the Cahokia Conference, Red Bud (2-1) hosts Salem and Central (2-1) looks to get back on track at winless Carlyle (0-3).

Cahokia (2-1) opens South 7 Conference play at Marion.