For over three quarters of its Cahokia Conference opener last week, battered and bruised Freeburg Midgets held Carlyle in check before fatigue set in.
After losing several key players to injuries in each of the past two years, it appears the injury bug has once again infected Freeburg, “especially on the defensive side of the football,” Midgets coach Ronnie Stuart said.
“It’s been rough the last two or three years and again against Carlyle the other night,” he said. “I thought our guys played hard and gave a great effort for four quarters. But in the second half against a physical Carlyle football team, I think we wore down a little bit because we are having to play some kids on both sides of the football due to injury.”
The Midgets (1-1) face another tough task on Friday when they go on the road to play another tough league foe in the Central Cougars. Central, ranked 14th in the Class 3A state poll, has been impressive in wins over Mascoutah and Dupo the first two weeks of the season.
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But Cougars coach Brian Short said he knows his team faces a stern test against Freeburg.
“Freeburg is always a good football team and seem to play very well against us each year,” Short said. “I’ve been pleased at how we’ve played the first two weeks, but this will be a real test for our kids.’’
Friday’s Game: Freeburg (1-1) at Central (2-0), 7 p.m.
Rankings: Freeburg is unranked; Central is ranked 14th in the Associated Press Class 3A state poll.
Last week: Carlyle defeated Freeburg 44-40; Central defeated Dupo 47-6.
Last Meeting: Central defeated Freeburg 16-10 in 2015
Scouting Freeburg: Putting points on the scoreboard hasn’t been a problem for the Midgets, who have a pair of 40-point games to their credit in the first two weeks of the season. Quarterback Bobby Tedesco has been the catalyst, completing 15 of 28 attempts for 240 yards and three touchdowns, while also running for 318 yards and four touchdowns. The Midgets also have four other running backs who have gained more than 40 yards and a qualify wide receiver in Brendan Ming who has eight catches.
“I’ve been happy with our offense and the way we’ve been able to move the football and put points on the scoreboard,” Stuart said. “I was a little concerned about that because of the number of quality players we have graduated the last couple of years. Bobby (Tedesco) has done a great job of both running and throwing the football the first couple of weeks. But we’re going to need some other kids step up when teams start to concentrate more on stopping him.
“I know Central is a very big, physical football team, like Carlyle was last week. They’ve got a group of players, some of whom have been around for a couple of years. It’s just a very solid football team and they’ll provide a real test for us on Friday.”
Scouting Central: Ranked 14th in the Class 3A state poll, the Cougars have been rolling since late in the first quarter in their opening game win against Mascoutah. Since trailing the Indians 13-6 at halftime, coach Brian Short’s team has outscored its opponents 74-20 in the last six quarters — including an impressive 47-6 Cahokia Conference win at Dupo last week.
“The first two drives against Mascoutah when we turned the football over were pretty ugly, but since then we’ve settled down and played pretty well on both sides of the football,” Short said. “We’ve got good balance on offense with a good quarterback, a group of good running backs and wide receivers who can run with and catch the football and a pretty solid offensive line.”
Quarterback Hunter Toeben directs the Cougars offense and has completed 20 of 36 passes for 290 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Toeben has spread the wealth with four receivers with three or more catches. Bailey Stewart leads the way with four receptions for 82 yards and a touchdown. In the backfield are a pair of quality backs in Collin Thomas (233 yards, 6 TD’s) and Ben Rakers (226 yards, 3 TD’s). Rakers has averaged more than 10 yards per attempt this season.