The East St. Louis Flyers chose to keep it relatively simple on rainy night at Granite City High School on Friday.
Senior quarterback Reyondous Estes ran for a touchdown and threw for another and the East St. Louis defense forced four Granite City turnovers and held the Warriors offense in check throughout as the Flyers rolled to a 44-0 win in a Southwestern Conference football game.
The top ranked Class 7A team in the state, East St. Louis also got a pair of touchdown runs from junior Kevin Brown as it broke the game open with a pair of scores in the final four minutes of the first half. The Flyers led 30-0 at halftime.
The lead grew to 44-0 in third quarter when with 3.4 seconds remaining, the game was stopped by lightning.. Both East St. Louis coach Darren Sunkett and Granite City coach Luehmann agreed to call it a night and the Flyers (4-0, 2-0) remained tied for the Southwestern Conference lead.
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Junior running back Kevin Brown added scoring runs of one and 20 yards, while Markevion Darough returned an interception 13 yards for a touchdown as despite a heavy rain and muddy field conditions, the Flyers played well in every phase of the game.
“ The conditions weren’t the best but I was pleased at how we played tonight in all areas — offense, defense and special teams. They all did a good job,’’ Sunkett said. “We were able to move the ball on the ground. Rey (Estes), (Kevin) Brown and Jarrell (Anderson) all ran the ball well and made some big plays for us.
“The defensive effort was great. Granite City had trouble moving the ball and we were able to an interception return for a touchdown. It was a great team effort’’
Brown gave East St. Louis the lead midway through the first quarter when he scored on a one-yard run and Estes hooked up with Charlando Robinson on a 36-yard touchdown pass as the lead grew to 14-0 with nine minutes left in the first half.
Anderson, who finished with 115 yards on 15 carries, put the finishing touch on a 9-play 65 yard Flyers scoring drive when he scored with 2:38 lef tin the second quarter as the Flyers lead grew to 22-0.
Grantie City freshman quarterback Freddie Edwards, making his first start in place of injured senior Kendrick Willba, was chased all night by the Flyers defense. And with time running down in the first half, Edwards threw a pass out on the flat where Darough stepped in front of the Warriors receiver for the interception.
Darorugh went untouched 13 yards for the score and the Flyers had a 30-0 lead at halftime.
“We stayed with them (East St. Louis) for a while,’’ Luehmann said. “It could have easily been 8-0 or 14-0 at halftime. Those two touchdowns we gave up right before the half really hurt.
“It was a tough night to play and we couldn’t do some of things we had planned. East St. Louis is a very good football team,. They are strong and physical and when they can play like they did tonight... well.. they are the top-ranked team in the state.’’
Estes, who added a 48-yard scoring run in the third quarter, finished wiith 114 yards on just sis carries, while Anderson finished with 115. But also key for East St. Louis was the defense, which held the Warriors to just 16 yards of total offense in the first half.