Belleville West defeats East
Senior quarterback Jack McCloskey completed 10 of 17 passes for 157 yards and three touchdowns, and the Belleville West defense did the rest as the Maroons defeated Riverview Gardens 40-2 in a non-conference football game Saturday afternoon.
Under the guidance of first-year coach Bryan Edgar, the Maroons dominated in every phase of the game, taking a 33-0 halftime lead over the Rams.
Senior defensive back Henry Walker intercepted a pass and returned it 74 yards for a touchdown early in the third quarter as the Maroons grew lead to 40-0. The final 16 minutes of the game were played under the 40-point mercy rule.
McCloskey fired touchdown passes of 22 and 19 yards to sophomore wide receiver Jadin Brazil and added a 14-yard touchdown pass to Joey Kossina.
“I thought we played well today for an opener,” McCloskey said. “Jordan Bruce set the tone in the first half running the football. With him running the football so well they (Reviewer Gardens) were loading up the box and that opened things up, and our passing game worked well.”
Bruce, who scored on a 32-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, finished the game with 152 yards, most of which came in the first half. The Maroons led 13-0 after one quarter before McCloskey threw a pair of touchdown passes and junior kicker Logan Seibert booted a pair of field goals, the second coming with 27 seconds remaining in the second quarter.
Seibert is the younger brother of Cleveland Browns kicker Austin Seibert.
The win was extra special for Edgar, a long-time assistant who took over the Maroons program earlier this year when former head coach Cameron Pettus resigned. Edgar was assistant under Pettus for eight years.
“It was a great team effort,” Edgar said. “You always hope your team comes out and plays well and I felt we did that today. We played with good intensity from the outset and as a coach you always like to see your kids having fun and playing together as a combined unit.
“We played really well.”
West wasted little time in taking control over the young Rams. Under first-year coach Lee Brown, Riverview Gardens started four freshmen on their offensive line and played with several juniors who were making their first varsity start.
McCloskey threw his first touchdown pass to Brazil, this one from 22 yards out, just 3:39 into the game.
“I liked our effort. We were playing with a lot of kids who were suiting up in eighth grade/junior high football last year,” Brown said. “West gives you a lot of different looks and our kids really didn’t know how to handle that very well. The goal is to keep improving and getting ready for each week. We have eight games to play, and I hope we continue to give the kind of effort we gave today. If we do that, we will keep improving — I have no doubt.”
While the Maroons offense dominated, the West defense held the Rams in check throughout.
“I like the response of our kids today. Our players were cheering for each other when they made good plays,” Edgar said.