Fresh off a convincing win at Southwestern Conference rival Alton, the Belleville West Maroons have made their first appearance of the season in the Associated Press Illinois State High School football poll released on Wednesday.
The undefeated Maroons, who will host Granite City (2-2) on Friday, received 18 points and are currently ranked eighth in the Class 7A poll in voting done by sports writers throughout the state. Undefeated Batavia (4-0) remained the top team in Class 7A, just ahead of (LaGrange Park) Nazareth Academy.
West coach Cameron Pettus did not know when the last time the Maroons have been ranked. West, which defeated Alton 52-21 has been led by an efficient offensive unit directed by junior quarterback Jack McCloskey that has outscored its four opponents 168-68.
“I’m very pleased at how we’ve played thus far, but there is still a long way to go and we have several tough games remaining,’’ Pettus said Wednesday. “Our offensive coaches have done a tremendous job and Jack has made good decisions in leading this football team. We’ve got a good group of receivers, DJ (Johnson) has run the ball very well for us and the offensive line has done a great job.”
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McCloskey has completed 68 percent of 73 attempts for 816 yards and 15 touchdowns against just four interceptions. DJ Johnson has provided offensive balance by averaging seven yards per carry (581 yards on 83 attempts) and finding the endzone six times.
Will Lanxon (18 catches, 266 yards, 5 TD) and Dominic Lovett (15 catches, 391 yards, 9 TDs) have been the favorites among McCloskey’s seven pass targets.
Defensively, the Maroons have forced 11 turnovers in four games. The unit is led by defensive end Keith Randolph, who received a scholarship offer over the weekend from Michigan State University, his 21st offer from an NCAA Division I program.
East St. Louis (3-1), despite a 56-0 win over Belleville East, dropped from third to fourth in the Class 7A poll. The Flyers did receive three first place votes.
Three other local schools are also ranked in their respective classes.
Mississippi Valley Conference favorite Highland (4-0) moved up in the Class 5A poll. The Bulldogs, tied with Hillcrest for fourth a week ago, are now ranked third following a 68-21 win at Jerseyville a week ago. Perennial state power Washington was a unanimous choice for the top spot in Class 5A, followed by (Lombard) Montini.
Like Highland, the Columbia Eaglles (4-0) also moved up. Ranked sixth in the Class 4A poll a week ago, coach Scott Horner’s team moved up two spots to fourth folllowing a 40-13 win at Wesclin.
Mater Dei (4-0), which travels to city rival Central for the annual Milk Bowl game oin Friday, is ranked for the first time this season. The Knights, who defeated Freeburg 56-28 last week, are ranked 10th in the Class 4a poll.
Local teams receiving votes but not cracking the top 10 this week are Mascoutah (Class 5A), Cahokia (4a\), Freeburg (4A), Central (3A), Nashville (2A), Red Bud (2A) and Madison (1A)
Here are the latest rankings of Illinois high school football teams in each class, according to an Associated Press panel of sportswriters:
|1.||Lincoln-Way East (9)||4-0||90||1|
Others receiving votes: Hinsdale Central 14, Loyola 10, Huntley 2, Neuqua Valley 1, Oswego East 1, Waubonsie Valley 1.
|3.||Brother Rice (1)||4-0||69||4|
|4.||East St. Louis (3)||3-1||68||3|
Others receiving votes: Wheaton Warrenville South 6, Benet 6, Machesney Park Harlem 5, Rolling Meadows 3, Moline 1, Lake Zurich 1.
|1.||Cary Grove (7)||4-0||97||1|
|2.||Oak Lawn Richards (3)||4-0||93||2|
|9.||Sacred Heart-Griffin (Springfield)||3-1||24||9|
Others receiving votes: Niles Notre Dame 6, Yorkville 2, Quincy 1
Others receiving votes: Decatur MacArthur 6, Mascoutah 3, St. Francis 3, Metamora 1, Sycamore 1.
|2.||IC Catholic (2)||4-0||110||2|
|10.||Breese Mater Dei||4-0||22||NR|
Others receiving votes: Cahokia 7, Johnsburg 5, Pontiac 5, Raby 5, Freeburg 1, Geneseo 1
Others receiving votes: Pleasant Plains 9, Rock Island Alleman 9, Elmwood-Brimfield 5, Breese Central 3, St. Joseph-Ogden 3, Genoa-Kingston 3, Lisle 3, West Frankfort 1.
|4.||Decatur St. Teresa||4-0||97||5|
|5.||Illini West (Carthage)||4-0||77||6|
|7.||Chicago Hope Academy||3-1||42||10|
Others receiving votes: Pana 10, Mercer County 6, Hamilton West Hancock 5, Downs Tri-Valley 4, Nashville 3, Deer Creek-Mackinaw 1, Collins 1, Eldorado 1, Red Bud 1
|2.||Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley (2)||4-0||109||3|
|3.||Camp Point Central||4-0||93||4|
Others receiving votes: Madison, Concord (Triopia), Sesser-Valier 4, Annawan/Wethersfield 3, Forreston 3, Dakota 2, Athens 2