High School Football

300-yard rushing days becoming the norm in metro-east football

Belleville West running back Kriston Davis (5), shown here against O’Fallon, had a huge game Saturday in the Maroons’ victory over Belleville East.
Belleville West running back Kriston Davis (5), shown here against O’Fallon, had a huge game Saturday in the Maroons’ victory over Belleville East.

Belleville West’s Kriston Davis had already racked up 391 yards of rushing as a sophomore when a broken ankle suffered in just the third week of the high school football season sent him to the sidelines.

Now a junior, he is quickly making up for lost time.

Saturday afternoon, with a grandstand full of alumni celebrating 100 years of football in their hometown of Belleville, Davis blitzed Belleville East for 271 yards and three touchdowns in a 42-0 victory. It was his third 100-yard game of the season, which includes a 194-yard performance against Batavia and 126 more against O’Fallon.

More than that, it represented the kind of offensive output head coach Cameron Pettus likes to see from his Maroons.

“It was great. I do love when we can run the football, absolutely,” Pettus said. “The offensive line did a great job and we have always known what a talent Kris really is.”

Davis has rushed for 713 yards and eight touchdowns this season. His return is a welcome sight, even for East head coach Kris Stephens. Stephens is a former West assistant who coached Davis’ brother, running back Antoine Davis.

“It’s really great for him because he’s such a good kid,” Stephens said of Kriston Davis. “When I was here he was a star cornerback and got some offense time. Now he’s a top-notch tailback, one of the better ones in the Southwestern Conference. That’s saying something.”

The Maroons improved to 3-3 with Saturday’s win and will need to be perfect to cinch their fifth consecutive class 7A playoff berth. Their next step is 5-1 Edwardsville, fresh off a tough loss to first-place and top-ranked East St. Louis.

Davis had cast his focus on the Tigers even before he had taken off his uniform Saturday.

“This one is past so now we’re thinking about orange,” he said. “That’s all we see.”

Mr. 300

In the last two weeks, an incredible five metro-east players have run for 300 yards or more.

The list includes Althoff senior running back Jaylon Bester (331 yards, four TDs against Centralia), Granite City freshman quarterback Freddy Edwards (324 yards and four TDs against O’Fallon), Carlyle senior Donte Nettles (310 yards, two TDs against Wesclin), Red Bud senior running back Ryan Hess (301 yards and five TDs against Wesclin) and Triad senior quarterback Tommy Bauer (300 yards, five TDs against Mascoutah).

Paying tribute to the opposition

After Central’s 42-33 Cahokia Conference win over Red Bud on Friday in a battle of unbeatens, Central coach Brian Short took the extra step of addressing the Musketeers and praised them for their effort.

Short recognized Red Bud’s comeback ability after the Musketeers turned two Central turnovers into touchdowns that quickly evaporated most of the Cougars’ lead.

“It was 28-13 in the middle of the second quarter and we had the ball with a chance to drive the nail hopefully to be up three scores before halftime,” Short said. “It just is a testament to the type of kids (Red Bud) Coach (Dave) Lucht has in his program.

“They’re down 28-13, backs to the wall, and they get two huge picks and drive down and score and it’s 28-27 at halftime.”

The Cougars’ massive offensive line and relentless running attack led by Collin Thomas and Ben Rakers wore down the Musketeers, but Red Bud still scored a late TD and had a chance to take the lead.

“It got to the point where when it started raining I think it helped us a little bit,” Short said. “The bottom line is if we need a couple yards, we know what we need to do. We can run the football really well and hopefully that doesn’t go away any time soon.”

For the second week in a row, Central will be facing an unbeaten and state-ranked conference rival. The Cougars play host to 4A-state ranked Columbia (6-0) at 7 p.m. Friday.

Norm Sanders: 618-239-2454, @NormSanders