No. 16 Carterville at No. 1 Althoff
Kickoff: 7 p.m. Friday at Lindenwood University-Belleville
Next Week: Winner advances to second round against either No. 8 Marquette (7-2) or No. 9 Taylorville (7-2)
Althoff Crusaders (9-0)
Coach: Ken Turner (9th year, 65-34)
Rank: No. 1 in Illinois 4A poll
Playoff History: The Crusaders are making their seventh straight appearance, their 13th in 15 seasons and their 23rd overall. Under Turner, Althoff was the state runner-up in Class 4A last season and also in Class 2A in 2012. Althoff won three state titles under former head coach Glenn Schott in 1980, 1989 and 1990.
Scouting Report: Althoff has lost just one game over the last two seasons, that being a 51-7 defeat in the Class 4A state championship game to Chicago Phillips. The Crusaders’ multi-dimensional offense hasn’t skipped a beat despite some notable losses to graduation. Senior quarterback Trey Mosley (97-of-158, 1,510 yards, 22 TDs, 3 interceptions) has helped lead the Crusaders to averaging 47.6 points per game. He throws to multiple targets, including receivers C.J. Coldon (41 catches, 721 yards, nine TDs), Jordan Goodwin (29 catches, 483 yards, five TDs) and Edwyn Brown (19 catches, 256 yards, seven TD). Senior running back Jaylon Bester (120 carries, 1,711 yards, 14.3 avg., 20 TD) leads the metro-east in rushing. Linebacker Bryson Strong (81 tackles, 4 sacks, one interception) and lineman Christian Wills (80 tackles, eight sacks) lead a Crusaders defense that has held opponents to 16.6 points per game.
Carterville Lions (5-4)
Coach: Dennis Drust (15th year, 126-36)
Rank: not ranked.
Playoff history: The Lions have missed the playoffs only four times since 1986. They were the Class 3A state champions in 1996 under coach Kerry Martin.
Scouting Report: The Lions have for years been a powerhouse in the Southern Illinois River-to-River Conference’s Mississippi Division, with five undefeated regular seasons in Drust’s 15 seasons. They started the 2016 season at 2-4, their most crushing defeat coming at the hands of chief rival Herrin (8-1), 7-6. But they rallied to playoff eligibility with three consecutive wins against teams with a combined record of 3-24. The Lions average 27.4 points per game on offense, while allowing opponents an average of just 16 points against them.
No. 16 Carterville Lions play No. 1 Althoff Crusaders
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Where: Lindenwood University-Belleville