High School Football

Clash of the unbeatens: Triad and Althoff on collision course

Althoff’s C.J. Coldon pulls away from Mater Dei defenders earlier this season
Althoff’s C.J. Coldon pulls away from Mater Dei defenders earlier this season News-Democrat

Perhaps the best way for the Triad Knights to deal with Althoff’s profilic offense is keeping it off the field.

Two of the area’s top teams will battle it out Friday at Triad in what is shaping up as one of the region’s best games all season.

“On offense we want to do it all and they just want to get three yards and three yards and move the chains,” Althoff coach Ken Turner said. “Keep running and and running and then break a big play for a touchdown. If you’re not disciplined they’ll pop one.

“They just keep coming at you.”

FRIDAY’S GAME: Althoff (8-0) at Triad (8-0), 7 p.m.

RANKINGS: Althoff is fourth in the Class 4A state rankings and first in the BND Small-School Rankings .Triad is tied for third in the Class 5A state rankings and fifth in the BND Large-School Rankings.

LAST MEETING: Triad won 27-22 at Althoff last season, but Althoff has won six of the previous 10 meetings including three of the last four.

Althoff has an incredible 4,065 yards of offense through eight games, including 2,327 yards passing. That’s an average of 500 yards of offense per game.

“It starts with pressure on the quarterback,” Triad coach Paul Bassler said. “You’ve got to make him make a decision quickly and you can’t let him sit back there and pick you apart. They’re throwing it around and have all these yards passing and we’ve been running the ball,

“We come from two totally different ends of the spectrum.”

Of Triad’s 2,511 offensive yards, 2,379 have come on the ground with their traditional option attack.

Bassler is part of Althoff’s ground-oriented past and was an assistant coach on the 1990 state championship team.

“We were a white-knuckle, knock-your-teeth- out offense and then we had Hickey Thompson back there and he was going to make you miss,” Bassler said, recalling Thompson,s 3,105 yards and 41 TDs in 1990. “They’re more finesse, throw the ball around ... we weren’t spreading the field back in 1990. We had two tight ends looking to knock your teeth out, get Hickey a crease.”

SCOUTING ALTHOFF: Quarterback Jordan Augustine has thrown for 2,327 yards and 26 touchdowns with six interceptions. His wealth of options includes receivers C.J Coldon (40 catches, 870 yards, eight TDS), Jackson State recruit Keenen Young (47 catches, 761 yards, 12 TDs) and Tarkus Ferguson (24 catches, 323 yards, two TDs).

The run game is led by Jaylon Bester (718 yards, nine TDs) and Malik Easley (696 yards, 11 TDs).

Linebackers Bryson Strong (101 tackles, nine sacks) and Chris Branson (80 tackles, two sacks) will be major factors in slowing down Triad’s trademark option attack, as will Coldon (50 tackles) at safety and defensive lineman Christian Wills (48 tackles, six sacks).

SCOUTING TRIAD: Few teams have been able to slow down Triad senior back Adam Nelson (1,151 yards, 24 TDs).

“It’s his speed, he just has that extra gear,” Bassler said. “When he sees a crease and gets a crease, he can accelerate and make people miss.”

Junior quarterback Tommy Bauer adds 434 yards rushing and five TDs, but has attempted only 17 passes all season.

Elusive running quarterbacks have given Althoff trouble in the past, including Triad’s Alex Crehan a year ago. Crehan had a big game in the Triad win, as did Collinsville quarterback Jordan Reichert and Mater Dei’s Colin Schuetz earlier this season.

“The bulk of the carries are going to Nelson, but they run that option and if you don’t stay disciplined (Bauer) will be the one that can get a lot of yards from you,” Turner said.

Triad’s defense will be tested more than in any other game, but linebackers Nathan Funk (56 tackles, seven sacks, two interceptions), Johnny McKinney (57 tackles) and Ethan Salopek (47 tackles, three sacks) hope to impose their will on Althoff.

COMMON OPPONENTS: Both teams nearly lost to Collinsville, with Althoff winning 24-22 and Triad winning 21-20. Althoff hammered Mount Vernon 42-0 while Triad had six turnovers in a 14-12 win over the same team.

Week 9 Schedule

Althoff at Triad, 7 p.m.

Belleville West at Alton, 7 p.m.

Collinsville at Belleville East, 7 p.m.

Edwardsville at Granite City, 7 p.m.

Mater Dei at Waterloo, 7 p.m.

Columbia at Nashville, 7 p.m.

Highland at Charleston, 7 p.m.

Mascoutah at Centralia, 7 p.m.

Carlyle at Wesclin, 7 p.m.

Herrin at Central, 7 p.m.

Dupo at Pinckneyville, 7 p.m.

Salem at Freeburg, 7 p.m.

Sparta at Red Bud, 7 p.m.

Crossroads Academy at Cahokia, 7 p.m.

Mount Zion at Civic Memorial, 7 p.m.

Marquette at Mount Olive, 7 p.m.

Pawnee at Metro-East Lutheran, 7 p.m.

Nokomis at Wood River, 7 p.m.

Mattoon at Jerseyville, 7 p.m.