High School Football

East St. Louis rallies for road win over Chicago Simeon

Drawing up a defensive game plan against East St. Louis can be a tough proposition.

There's Karon Randolph, who has scholarship offers from Florida State and Kansas, to keep track of. There's also the versatile Jeff Thomas and quarterback Rayondus Estes, not to mention junior receivers Jermaine Grissom and Markevion Darough.

All together, they were too much for Chicago Simeon on Saturday night.

Thomas ran for one touchdown and caught a pass for another, while Estes had a hand in three scores as the Flyers rallied for a 28-21 victory at Gately Stadium.

"We have a talented receiver corps," said East St. Louis senior lineman Tre'vour Simms, an Illinois recruit. "And we have pretty good backs.

"Jeff Thomas, that was a good game for him. He's our facilitator. He came through for us."

The Flyers trailed 21-6 at halftime, their only first-half score coming on an 11-yard pass from Estes to Randolph in the second quarter.

Simeon countered with Qwentn Bolton's 8-yard touchdown run and a pair of scoring passes from Dakota Turner to Malik Holcomb covering 52 and 10 yards.

But East St. Louis' defense stepped up in the second half, forcing two turnovers and three three-and-outs on Simeon's first five possessions.

"We just went in at halftime and made some adjustments," East St. Louis coach Darren Sunkett said. "We had a few mental breakdowns early in the game. We gave Simeon a short field and they did what great teams do, they capitalized on it."

But the Flyers took advantage of some opportunities as well.

Thomas caught a 26-yard scoring pass from Estes down the left sideline to pull the Flyers within 21-14 early in the third quarter.

Three plays later, James Knight picked off a Turner pass to set East St. Louis up at the Simeon 14. Five plays after that, Estes went 4 yards around left end to make it 21-20.

A Simeon fumble early in the fourth quarter gave the Flyers a first-and-goal at the Simeon 8. Thomas burst through the right side for a touchdown on the next play to put East St. Louis ahead to stay.

"We've been working on that all summer," Sunkett said of lining up Thomas at different spots. "We know teams are going to key on him so we put him in the slot, put him in the backfield. We don't want any of our opponents to get a bead on where Jeff is going to be."

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