One week after watching his team lose 53-0 to East St. Louis — their third consecutive setback — Belleville West football coach Bryan Edgar had a simple game plan for his squad Friday against O’Fallon.
“The game plan was just to do your job,” Edgar said. “I just wanted everybody to do their jobs.”
Following Edgar’s game plan to perfection, senior quarterback Jack McCloskey threw four second-half touchdown passes and the Maroons defense held highly-touted running back Mason Blakemore in check as West rolled to a 40-19 Southwestern Conference home win.
After dodging a bullet late in the first half when O’Fallon (3-2, 1-1) squandered a chance to take the lead, McCloskey and the Maroons offense went to work.
With just over a minute gone in the third quarter, McCloskey connected with senior Joey Kossina on a 65-yard scoring play as the Maroons (2-3, 1-1) extended their lead to 16-7..
Touchdown passes of 55 and 20 yards from McCloskey to running back Jordan Bruce followed shortly after. When McCloskey found a streaking Jadin Brazil for an 80-yard touchdown play early in the fourth quarter, the Maroons led 40-13 and the three-game losing skid was vanquished.
“We just executed much better tonight,” Edgar said. “You know in this conference, you need to be ready to play every Friday night and we were tonight. I was just very pleased at how we came back after last week and beat a very good O’Fallon football team.
“This is a huge win for this football team. Now we get ready to play Belleville East next week.”
Junior Logan Seibert booted field goals of 47 and 40 yards and Bruce, who finished with 113 yards on the ground, added a 21-yard scoring run for West, which took advantage of four O’Fallon turnovers and scored on its first five possessions of the second half to take control.
While Belleville West dominated the second half, it was the Panthers who looked sharp early. With junior quarterback Ty Michael directing the offense, O’Fallon went on an 80-yard scoring drive, taking up the first six minutes of the first quarter to take the lead.
Blakemore, who entered the game with 12 touchdowns, added another one, this time from 2-yards out to give O’Fallon a 7-0 advantage.
West then came up with a key fourth down stop on O’Fallon’s next possession and Seibert, younger brother of Cleveland Browns kicker Austin Seibert, booted a 47-yard field goal to cut the Maroons deficit to 7-3.
The Maroons took a 9-7 lead midway in the second quarter, but with O’Fallon threatening to take the lead just before halftime, the momentum changed.
With a 1st and goal from inside the Maroons 3-yard line with under 17 seconds remaining, the snap from center sailed well over Michael’s head and the Maroons recovered.
‘It was just one of those things. Our center is one of our senior leaders. That was a momentum breaker. He just had an off night. It happens,” first-year O’Fallon coach Byron Gettis said. “You know that the top teams in this conference are very strong and the rest of us are teams that can beat each other on any given night.
“Belleville West is a good football team and I think we’re a playoff team. We take this one tonight and learn from it. We turned the football over four times. The team that does that the most usually comes away with a loss.
Blakemore also added scoring runs of four and five yards, giving him 15 touchdowns for the season.