High School Football

4A football playoff preview: Greenville at Columbia

Columbia High School’s defense is anchor by senior linebacker Owen Suedkamp (right)
Columbia High School’s defense is anchor by senior linebacker Owen Suedkamp (right)

No. 15 GREENVILLE at No. 2 COLUMBIA

Kickoff: 1 p.m. Saturday at Columbia

Next week: Winner advances to second round game against winner of West Frankfort (6-3) vs. Canton (7-2)

COLUMBIA EAGLES (9-0)

Coach: Scott Horner (16th year, 117-49)

Rank: fifth in final Class 4A state rankings

Playoff history: Eagles are making their 20th playoff appearance and sixth straight; they finished second in Class 3A in 2007. They own three previous playoff wins over Greenville, including 40-39 in the 2007 3A semifinals. Greenville beat Columbia 35-6 in 2006 and Columbia won 40-14 in the 2008 3A quarterfinals.

Scouting report: The five-time defending Cahokia Conference champs have rolled through another unbeaten regular-season, their third in the last four years, by rolling up an average of 43.5 points per game. The diverse offense feature senior quarterback Greg Long (1,409 yards passing for 20 touchdowns with one interception; 334 yards rushing with nine TDs) and junior running back Colton Byrd (1,350 yards rushing, 21 TDs) along with shifty junior wideout Jordan Holmes (48 catches, 778 yards, 11 TDs). The other top receivers are Jared Germain (18 catches, 189 yards, three TDs) and Mitch Daniels (18 catches, 261 yards, one TD). Long has also kicked six field goals and 44 extra points. Defensively, it all starts with senior linebacker Owen Suedkamp (102 tackles, one sack). Long has five interceptions on defense and Holmes has four while linebacker Jarrett Allscheid has 44 tackles and four sacks.

GREENVILLE COMETS (5-4)

Coach: Todd Hutchinson (ninth year, 85-18)

Rank: not ranked

Playoff history: 20th playoff appearance and first since 2014.Comets reached 3A semifinals in 207, 2009 and 2011 and have fsix seasons with only one loss since 2007.

Scouting report: Comets finished fifth in the South Central Conference, which included three 8-1 playoff qualifiers. Won three of their final five games, closed out regular season with a 27-26 loss to Vandalia. Among Greenville’s top offensive players are quarterback Ryan Hutchinson, running backs Christian Moore and Seth Moore and receivers Hunter Matthews and Mason Johnson.

Norm Sanders: 618-239-2454, @NormSanders

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