High School Football

Defending Class 7A champion travels to Edwardsville for 8A football quarterfinal

Edwardsville quaterback Brenden Dickmann scrambles for yards against Belleville West in a game this season. The senior quarterback was an efficient 10-for-13 passing in a week 2 playoff win over Oswego last week.
Edwardsville quaterback Brenden Dickmann scrambles for yards against Belleville West in a game this season. The senior quarterback was an efficient 10-for-13 passing in a week 2 playoff win over Oswego last week.

No. 20 GLENBARD WEST (9-2) at No. 12 EDWARDSVILLE (10-1)

Kickoff: 1 p.m. Saturday at Edwardsville High School

Last week: Edwardsville defeated No. 5 Oswego, 31-14 on the road; Glenbard West upset No. 4 Homewood-Flossmoor, 28-21, at home.

Next week: The winner will play either No. 1 Loyola Academy (11-0) or No. 24 Huntley (8-3) in the Class 8A semifinal next week

EDWARDSVILLE TIGERS

Coach: Matt Martin (sixth year, 55-12)

Rank: Sixth in Class 8A

Playoff history: The Tigers are in the postseason for the 23rd time. They have qualified for the postseason for six consecutive years. Edwardsville was runner-up in Class 7A in 2001 and 2002 under former coach Tim Dougherty, losing both times to Mount Prospect. It reached the Class 7A semifinals in 2005, the Class 7A quarterfinals in 2012 and the Class 7A semifinals in 2013.

Scouting report: Edwardsville finished second to East St. Louis in the Southwestern Conference, its only loss coming 20-10 to the Flyers. The Tigers’ playoff run included a first-round victory at home against No. 21 Oak Park and a 31-14 round-two win at No. 5 Oswego last week. Quarterback Brenden Dickmann (58-of-104, 859 yards, seven TDs, four interceptions) has been efficient in directing his offense. He completed 10-of-13 passes for 155 yards and a touchdown against Oswego. Sophomore running back Dionte Rodgers is the ringleader on offense with 1,284 yards and a school-record 24 rushing touchdowns. Senior Daval Torres is the top receiver with 18 catches for 226 yards. On defense, senior end and Iowa recruit A.J. Epenesa (6-foot-5, 270 pounds) is one of the dominant players in the state. Senior end Nathan Kolesa, senior linebacker Cyress Ahart and junior linebacker Ryan Connelly also are keys. Senior kicker Riley Patterson had a 26-yard field goal to beat Oak Park-River Forest. The Tigers average just under 35 points per game, while their defense allows just over 12 points.

GLENBARD WEST

Coach: Chad Hetlet (10th year, 111-14)

Rank: N/A

Playoff history: The Hilltoppers are the defending Illinois Class 7A state champions. It was their third title, having won a 7A championship in 2012 and the 5A crown in 1983. Under Hetlet, Glenbard West was the state runner up in 2009, a semifinalist in 2014, 2013, 2010 and 2008, and reached the quarterfinals in 2011.

Scouting report: Glenbard West’s only losses of the season came in overtime against Hinsdale Central, another 8A playoff qualifier and Lyons High School, which was bounced in the second round in overtime. The Hilltops reached the quarterfinals with a stunning upset of previously unbeaten and fourth-seeded Homewood-Flossmoor, 28-21. They were outgained 341 yards to 204, but three interceptions — including one in the the Homewood-Flossmoor red zone — and an 86-yard kick return by Tyquan Cox more than compensated. Running back Ryan Diver is the catalyst for an offense that averages just shy of 35 points per game. It was his 156 yards on 31 carriers that consumed clock and preserved the Hilltoppers’ lead Saturday. They also get rushing yards from Dre Thomas and production of play action from quaterback Cole Brady. The defense is led by cornerback Jack Campanella, who had two of the three interceptions in the second-round win. Linebackers Chris Langan and Mark Mattson and pass pressure by Dionte Moorehead anchor a stingy defensive unit that has held opponents to just 12 points per game. The last time the Hilltoppers trekked this far for a football game was 1976 when they met Belleville West in the playoffs.

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