The Edwardsville Tigers rebounded from their frustrating first loss of 2016 with a win that builds on their postseason resume.
With a 30-7 victory over Belleville West on Friday, the Tigers claimed win No. 6 this season — the milestone for playoff-qualifying teams in Illinois.
Almost as important, they exorcised the demons of a 10-point loss last week against East St. Louis which probably cost Edwardsville the Southwestern Conference title and a higher playoff seed.
“Coming back from last week and getting a ‘W’ against Belleville West is a big deal,” said senior quarterback Brenden Dickmann. “Both teams came in with one loss in the conference so we felt like we needed to get back on track from last week. This win was good for our locker room.”
The loss drops the Maroons to 3-4 overall and 3-2 in the SWC. They must win their finals two games against Granite City and Alton to be playoff-eligible.
West is very physical and they run that counter trey as good as anyone. That’s a much better football team than the score tonight indicates.
Matt Martin, Edwardsville head football coach
West coach Cameron Pettus said his team can build off a successful second half in which the Maroons outgained Edwardsville.
“I’m really proud of the second half these guys gave us,” he said. “We’ll start with that and get to work on next week. We’re looking forward to the rest of the year. These next couple of games are what we play for.”
Edwardsville took a two-score lead with a 97-yard drive just before the end of the first quarter. The drive was capped on a 45-yard run by Dionte Rodgers on fourth-and-3.
“The coaches do a great job of getting us all working toward the same goal, which is getting the playoffs and making a run,” said Rodgers, who finished with a game-high 184 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries. “But they keep us focused week to week. We see the season one game at a time.”
The Tigers started with great field position on their next two possessions, thanks to West special-teams mistakes.
Riley Patterson connected on a 40-yard field goal set up by a fumbled kickoff return at the West 27. Then a blocked punt put Dickmann in position to score from 4 yards out.
I’m really proud of the second half these guys gave us. We’ll start with that and get to work on next week.
Cameron Pettus, Belleville West head football coach
West fumbled away the first snap of its first possession in the second half to set up Edwardsville’s final score, a 29-yard run by Rodgers to make it 30-0 with 7:41 remaining in the third quarter.
The Maroons got onto the scoreboard with an eight-play, 80-yard drive engineered by sophomore quarterback Will Lanxon, in for senior starter Logan Betz.
“Logan has been dealing with a rib issue and we’ve been working Will out at quarterback the last couple of weeks,” Pettus said.
Kriston Davis and Paris Johnson accounted for most the yardage, but Lanxon closed out the drive with a 9-yard run.
“West is very physical and they run that counter trey as good as anyone,” said Edwardsville coach Matt Martin. “That’s a much better football team than the score tonight indicates.”
Dickmann was an efficient, going 8-for-14 for 93 yards. His longest completion was a 40-yard strike to junior Reginald Wilson. Dayleon Harris had three catches for 19 yards.
Davis had his fourth 100-yard rushing game of the season for West, reaching 118 yards on 21 carries. Johnson, who didn’t have his first carry until midway through the third quarter, had 57 yards on seven attempts. The Maroons rushed for 200 yards in the game.
Lanxon and Betz combined were just 5-for-17 for 19 yards and an interception.