Edwardsville quarterback Kendall Adbur-Rahman ran 80 yards for a touchdown midway through the first quarter and the Tigers defense did the rest in a stunning 37-6 upset win over Belleville West on Friday in a Southwestern Conference football game
Needing to win one of its final two games to be eligible for the Class 8A playoffs, the Tigers (5-3, 4-1) received over 300 yards on the ground from Abdur-Rahman and running back Justin Johnson as it dominated the Maroons (6-2, 3-2) from the outset.
Senior running back Dionte Rodgers added a 4-yard scoring run later in the first quarter to expand the lead. Johnson then added a 3-yard run with 47 seconds left in the first half to give the Tigers a 20-6 advantage at halftime.
With senior linebackers Ryan Strohmeier and Connor Hinterser leading a Tigers defense which held the powerful Maroons in check, Edwardsville was never threatened in the final two quarters as it all but clinched second place in the SWC with the win.
“I didn’t really think we had the game put away until probably right after we scored that last touchdown,’’ Tigers coach Matt Martin said with smile. “Top to bottom in every area ... offense, defense and special teams, I thought we executed very, very well.
“Our defense did a great job. It’s been a long time since I can remember our defense playing any better with so much on the line then what we did tonight.’’
Ranked ninth in the most recent Class 7A state poll, the Maroons only score of the night came midway in the second quarter on a 12-yard scoring play from quarterback Jack McCloskey to sophomore wide receiver Dominic Lovett. That score was one of the only bright spots for the Maroons offense, which finished with around 150 yards of total offense on the night.
The Maroons have not beaten Edwardsville since the 2010 season.
“That’s a good football team that just played very well tonight,’’ said Maroons coach Cameron Pettus of the Tigers. “We had our chances. But in this game you’ve got to be able to take advantage of your opportunities when you get the chance. We didn’t do that tonight.
“Kendall (Abdur-Rahman) is a different football player. You think you have him bottled up and he breaks loose on you. We loaded the box tonight trying to make them beat us with the pass. I thought we did a good job until he squirts through and goes 80 yards there in the first quarter. We’ve got some work to do. We’ll bounce back.’’
Rahman, a Notre Dame recruit, also had a 40-yard scoring run late in the third quarter and unofficially finished with 226 yards.