When East St. Louis football legends Julyon Brown and Dana Howard came up with the idea of an annual City of Champions Classic, they did so with the hope of bringing the best teams they could to Clyde Jordan Stadium for one great day of gridiron action.
In 2015, Brown and Howard have outdone themselves.
Two of the most successful programs in state history will collide Saturday when Lombard Montini takes on East St. Louis at 6 p.m. in the finale of the three game showcase at Clyde Jordan Stadium.
The game between Montini, ranked second in the Class 6A state polls and East St. Louis, ranked third in Class 7A, features two teams which have combined for 12 state titles. Montini, which reached the Class 5A state title game a year ago, has won five state championships.
“I have to believe this is the top game in the state this weekend,’’ Brown said on Wednesday. “To have two of the top teams in the state with the traditions they both have, playing in a week two game is something that just doesn’t happen very often.
“Hopefully the people in the St. Louis and metro-east area will come out on Saturday. The weather is supposed to be hot, but we’ll have plenty of refreshments and of course what I think should just be a great high school football game.’’
Brown said there are tickets available in advance for $8 and can be purchased in the East St. Louis High School office., Tickets will be $10 at the gate.
The Montini and East St. Louis junior-varsity teams will play at noon followed by the game between St. Louis schools Gateway and Confluence Academy at 3 p.m.
The Flyers, who opened their season a week ago with a come-from-behind 28-21 win at Chicago Simeon last week, will be out for revenge when they take on the Broncos (1-0).
Montini, a 20-17 winner over Maine South last week, defeated the Flyers 34-6 in the 2013 City of Champions Classic, then nipped East St. Louis 46-32 a year ago in Lombard.
“I didn’t think we played that bad last year against them (Montini). We just made a couple of mistakes and they took advantage of them. That’s what they do,’’ Brown said. “ I really think this is the year we might get them. We can’t make mistakes though.’’
Contact reporter Dean Criddle at firstname.lastname@example.org or 618-239-2661.