The East St. Louis Flyers were pretty much flawless a week ago as they dismantled one of the top football programs in suburban Chicago — Providence Catholic — 34-3 on its home turf.
On Saturday, East St. Louis may have to be even better.
The top-ranked Class 6A team in Missouri and perennial St. Louis power Christian Brothers College High School (2-0) will put a talented East St. Louis squad to the test for a second straight week when they play the Flyers at 7 p.m. at Clyde Jordan Stadium in East St. Louis.
“This is a game we’ve been looking forward to. Just like Providence Catholic last week, CBC is an elite program which has a lot of tradition. I think they’re ranked No. 1 in Class 6A in Missouri., That tells it all right there,’’ Flyers coach Darren Sunkett said earlier this week. “This is another big challenge for this football team.’’
The finale of the first Gateway Scholars Football Classic which will take place at the home of the Flyers on Saturday, the ESTL-CBC game is one of three scheduled contests matching Missouri and Illinois high school gridiron powers.
Cahokia (1-0) will battle St. Louis Sumner at 1 p.m. and will be followed at 4 p.m. when Althoff (1-0) takes on Jefferson City, (MO.) Helias. Tickets are priced at $10 and will be available at the gate. Tickets are good for all three games and fans may leave and come back. Fans leaving must show their ticket stubs to be readmitted.’’
The Flyers, ranked second in the Class 7A state poll, were dominant in every phase of the game against the Celtics. With quarterback Reyondous Esates throwing a pair of scoring passes to All-American wide receiver Jeff Thomas and completing 12 of 25 attempts for 263 to leaad the offense and the defense holding the Celtics to just a field goal, East St. Louis ‘16 debut was a good one.
“As a coach, you always look at week one to identify things you need to work on. There are always physical and mental mistakes and we made some against Providence,’’ Sunkett said. “But overall, I was pleased. Our execution on both sides of the football was good. But we still need to get better.
“I thought Rey (Estes) did a good job of distributing the football to not only (Jeff) Thomas, but to all of our wide receivers. Jeff has had a busy Summer and done a lot of traveling. We’re going to get him some rest when we can. We have several other qualify receivers on this team.
The Class 6A state runnerup a year ago after winning the title the previous season, CBC is 29-1 in its last 30 games and like East St. Louis, has several major NCAA Division I prospects on both sides of the football.
Leading the Cadets attack is sophomore quarterback Brett Gabbert. The younger brother of San Francisco 49ers quarterback Blaine Gabbert and former Missouri and Central Florida quarterback Tyler Gabbert. Brett Gabbert is 22-of-38 for 372 yards and three touchdowns in the Cadets first two games. like East St. Louis, CBS also has one of the top wide receivers in the nation in Kamryn Babb.
Babb, who has 10 catches for 179 yards and a touchdown this season, has scholarship offers from LSU, Ohio State, Michigan State, Illinois and Missouri, just to name a few.
The Cadets also have NCAA Division I recruits on the defensive side of the football.
“Offensively, CBC is a very precise football team. They spread the field and as a defensive unit, you have to be in the right spots and be able to adjust,’’ Sunkett said. “On defense, they like to get up on you and play a lot of man-to-man, They are pretty disciplined.. They don’t make many mistakes.’’
Scouting East St. Louis
While Estes, a Missouri recruit and Thomas, who caught five passes for 171 yards and two scores, lead the offense, Sunkett also was pleased with several other players in the rout last week over Providence.
Running backs Jerrell Anderson (89 yards) and Jigg Brown (46) each scored a touchdown while running behind the Flyers big offensive front.
Receivers Charlando Robinson, Eric Owens and Perez Hall combined for seven catches and over 90 yards last week and figure to get even more looks as opposing defenses focus on slowing down Thomas.
Linebackers James Knight and William Keltee lead a Flyers defense loaded with college prospects.