Kriston Davis put on a show for the 200-or-so former players and coaches who were in the stands at Belleville West Stadium to celebrate the Maroons’ centennial football season Saturday.
The junior running back carried 27 times for 271 yards and three touchdowns in a 42-0 victory over the cross-town East Lancers.
“I’ve never beaten East in my time here, so it means a lot,” he said.”The O-line did great, my quarterback did great, the wide outs blocked for me. It was just a great game overall.”
The win means more for the 3-3 Maroons who are fighting for their fifth straight Class 7A playoff berth. West next faces Edwardsville, which is fresh off its first loss of the season.
Dominating the line of scrimmage for a big conference win sets a positive trend for the next three weeks, says West coach Cameron Pettus.
“It’s do or die for our program if we’re going to think about the playoffs so this was a playoff-type game,” Pettus said. “It’s going to be tough the rest of the way, so we told the guys we need them to step it up. (Offensive line coach Bryan) Edgar did a great job challenging the offensive line.”
A tough season for the young Lancers (1-5) doesn’t get any easier. East next faces undefeated East St. Louis, ranked No. 1 by the Associated Press in Illinois 7A.
“With there weeks to go, we’ve got to concentrate on just finding something we can hang our hat on scheme-wise,” said East coach Kris Stephens, a former West assistant. “Defensively, we’ve got to make sure defensively we’re doing much better at the little things.”
Davis set the tone for the remainder of the game on the first play, breaking a 39-yard run to the East 36 yard line. He scored four play later to give the Maroons the early lead.
The Maroons were held on their next possession, but East quarterback Kienen Waller was intercepted on second down by senior Kyle Ziegel, who scored from 35 yards out.
West stretched the lead to 28-0 on a 15-yard touchdown run from Davis and an outstanding catch in the back of the end zone by Paris Johnson as time expired in the first half.
Johnson and Davis each scored again to start the continuous game clock.
The Maroons, meanwhile, totaled 471 yards of offense.
“They are a good, strong physical teams with a lot of athletes,” Stephens said. “When they catch some steam, they really catch it.”
Davis’ topped 100 yards for the third time this season and his 271 yards were his best since carrying for 277 in last year’s opener against Normal.
West quarterback Logan Betz didn’t complete a pass until the touchdown to Johnson to close out the first half. He finished 4-of-9 for 116 yards and two touchdowns. Johnson had three catches for 86 yards and the two scores.
Waller had a good day passing for East, completing 15-of-22 for 146 yards, but the Lancers could get nothing going on the ground, finishing with negative yardage on 17 total rushes.
Wide receiver Connor Martin had six catches for 86 yards for East.