Here are the weekly Belleville News-Democrat Game Balls given to area football players for some top performances in Week 5:
- Althoff senior running back and Miami (Ohio) recruit Jaylon Bester erupted for a career-high 331 yards and four touchdowns Friday in the Crusaders’ 40-21 South Seven Conference win over previously unbeaten Centralia. His highlight of the night may have been a 73-yard run when the Crusaders were facing a rare third-and-55 play. Bester has racked up a metro-east best 991 yards and 13 TDs on only 58 carries, averaging a whopping 17.1 yards per carry.
- Red Bud senior running back Ryan Hess was at his defense-destruction best again Friday, running for 301 yards and four TDs in the Musketeers’ 56-30 Cahokia Conference win over Freeburg. Hess is second among area running backs with 947 yards on 80 carries, averaging 11.8 yards per carry. Red Bud quarterback Griffin Ziebold completed 7-of-10 passes for 201 yards and two TDs against the Midgets.
- East St. Louis got two second-quarter punt returns for touchdowns by Perez Hall Jr. on Friday as the Flyers pounded Belleville West 52-0. Hall had a 38-yard punt return for a TD early in the second quarter, then tacked on a 71-yarder for another score before the first half ended.
- Central senior running back Collin Thomas wanted to win a Milk Bowl for his high school career ended and he got the job done, running for 216 yards and six TDs Friday in a 46-35 win over rival Mater Dei. Central running back Ben Rakers was also effective in the victory, adding 112 yards rushing on offense and returning an interception 47 yards for a defensive TD.
- East St. Louis senior quarterback and Missouri recruit Reyondous Estes completed 15-of-23 passes for 364 yards and four TDs in a 52-0 Southwestern Conference win over Belleville West. Estes has thrown for 925 yards and 10 TDs this season with three interceptions.
- East St. Louis senior All-American receiver Jeff Thomas showed he was healthy again, hauling in six catches for 205 yards and two TDs in a 52-0 win over Belleville West.
- Althoff senior receiver C.J. Coldon piled up 172 yards on five catches Friday, including a 95-yard TD pass from Trey Mosley, in the Crusaders’ 40-21 win over Centralia. Althoff senior defensive tackle Christian Wills had 10 tackles and three sacks.
- Columbia junior running back Colton Byrd had a huge night and did it all in the first half, rolling up 172 yards and a school-record six TDs in a 55-6 Cahokia Conference win over Carlyle. Byrd was a man bent on destruction, piling up four TD runs in the first quarter covering 59, 24, 23 and 4 yards. In the second quarter, he had TD runs covering 23 and 21 yards. Byrd has 674 yards rushing this season with 11 TDs.
- Granite City freshman Freddy Edwards had another big night, rolling up 203 yards rushing and three TDs on 19 carries in a 34-18 Southwestern Conference win over Collinsville. Edwards, playing quarterback, had a 63-yard TD run to open the scoring and later added two more scores, including a 38-yard TD run in the fourth quarter.
- Edwardsville sophomore running back Dionte Rodgers ran for 148 yards and three TDs to help the unbeaten Tigers knock off Belleville East 49-13.
- Highland senior running back Trent Rakers had 217 yards and a touchdown on 30 carries as the Bulldogs, playing without injured quarterback Garrett Marti, defeated league rival Waterloo 14-3.
- O’Fallon quarterback Christian Perez completed 13-of-26 passes for 295 yards and four TDs Friday in a 56-28 Southwestern Conference win over Alton.
BND Prep Football Rankings
Rankings for metro-east teams; voting by area coaches and News-Democrat staff. First-place votes are in parentheses.
Large school rankings (Class 5A-8A)
East St. Louis (4)
Also receiving votes: Highland (4-1), Granite City (3-2), Waterloo (3-2), Triad (4-1), Belleville East (1-4)
Small school rankings (Class 1A-4A)
Also receiving votes: Mater Dei (2-3), Nashville (3-2), Wood River (3-2), Carlyle (1-4), Wesclin (2-3)