The “Holy Grail” game beteen Althoff and Mater Dei is now in its third year and the Mater Dei Knights are still trying to get their hands on the trophy that goes to the winner.
“I thought everybody’s liked it, it’s a great concept,” said Mater Dei coach Jim Stiebel, a former Althoff all-state lineman and assistant coach.
Friday’s Game: Althoff (2-0) at Mater Dei (2-0), 7 p.m.
“We don’t want to overlook any team and we don’t want to over-hype any team,” Althoff coach Ken Turner said. “We want to continue to concentrate on us, finish each play of the game. We understadn it’s the ‘Holy Grail’ game, but we want to be the same team we can be every week.”
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to Belleville News-Democrat
Last week: Althoff defeated Jefferson City (Mo.) Helias 51-20; Mater Dei beat Marquette 35-14.
State Rankings: Althoff is first in the Class 4A state rankings, Mater Dei is third.
Althoff won the first two “Holy Grail” meetings, including a jaw-dropping 68-46 victory last season that saw the teams combine for 1,155 yards of total offense and 114 points. The second meeting was closer as the teams met again in the 4A semifinals, with Althoff coming out on top 48-20 in a game the Crusaders led 21-6 at halftime.
“The first game we were tinkering with a different defense and it exposed some flaws in that set,” Stiebel said. “If you look at that second game, I thought it was a really good game back and forth until the wheels fell off in the second half on special teams.”
Scouting Mater Dei: After throwing for 2,828 yards and 32 TDs as a junior and tacking on an additional 495 yards rushing with 15 TDs, senior quarterback Colin Schuetz is the definite focal point for any team facing the Knights.
He has completed 22-of-46 passes for 266 yards and three TDs, contributing 217 yards rushing on 21 carries.
“He’s their guy,” Turner said. “He’s the guy with the most experience back and the guy that touches the ball every play. We’ve got to do a good job of not letting him beat us.”
The Knights also rely on running back Jake Wieters (48 carries, 266 yards, one TD), receiver Lucas Theising (11 catches, 156 yards, two TDs) and receiver-running back Jake Timmermann (four carries, 12 yards, one TD; four catches, 60 yards).
Linebacker Trever Johnson (15 tackles, one sack) has been impressive on defense.
Scouting Althoff: The numbers look good for senior Trey Mosley through a 2-0 start as the Crusaders’ quarterback, but that doesn’t mean Turner isn’t looking for fine-tuning from everybody involved in the offense.
Mosley is 34-of-51 passing for 479 yards and six TDs with one interception.
“I thought against Helias we wanted to be a little bit more consistent on offense,” Turner said. “I didn’t feel like we played bad, but we missed some shots that we had and we weren’t consistent.”
Senior running back and Miami (Ohio) recruit Jaylon Bester is averaging 12.2 yards per carry with 293 yards rushing and four TDs on 24 carries. The top receivers have been senior Jordan Goodwin (11 catches, 150 yards, two TDs) and C.J. Coldon (eight catches, 140 yards), with Edwyn Brown adding another threat.
An experienced defense is led by linebacker Bryson Strong (17 tackles, one sack), defensive tackles Christian Wills (17 tackles, three sacks) and Devyn Nash (18 tackles, one sack) and linebacker Chris Branson (15 tackles, one sack).
Wills has been a huge disruptive force up front.
“That’s the type of player he can be,” Turner said. “He’s a lot more consistent, he’s a senior and he feels good about his game. We depend on him to get (in the backfield) a lot, him and Nash. It’s hard to double-team both of those guys.”