WOOD RIVER - A beautiful late-summer evening for football greeted the East Alton-Wood River Oilers and Civic Memorial Eagles when they took the field at Memorial Stadium on the EAWR campus Friday night.
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Outside of the opening few minutes, it was all Eagles, who went on and took a 40-7 win. The victory is Rick Reinhart’s 100th at the helm of the CM football program.
The hosts would open the scoring after CM fumbled a snap on their first offensive play, giving EAWR great field position.
“You either regroup, or you start sweating bullets,” said Rick Reinhart on the early turnover.
A short drive was finished by a Drake Champlin rushing touchdown from a few yards out, and the PAT was converted for a 7-0 Oiler lead early on.
“He’s a bull,” said EAWR head coach Garry Herron of Champlin, who plays just about every snap of the ball for the Oilers. “Whenever he’s tackling people, or when he’s on offense, he’s always making an impact.”
The Oiler defense, tasked with defending the lead, couldn’t stop the Eagle attack following the opening drive fumbled snap. A quick drive followed for CM, and they would answer back with a Jack Piening TD pass to tie the game at 7-7.
It was the second half where the Eagles would stretch their lead. Two Parker Parnell touchdowns, a short-range rush and a long score off a receiver screen, pushed the score to 21-7.
“I thought we did a lot of good things, our passing game really came through for us tonight,” Reinhart said. “We got two guys who can wing it and some receivers who can catch it.”
The Oilers had no answer for CM on either side of the ball in the quarter and were kept off the scoreboard by the Eagle defense. Down two scores at half, it didn't get much better for coach Herron's Oiler team.
CM would drive and eat a bit of clock en route to a Jacob Flowers TD that gave the Eagles a three-score lead. They weren’t done there.
A big pass from Piening to Christian Garrett on the next CM drive put the result of the game beyond all doubt before the 3rd quarter had ended. The 51-yard connection and a missed extra point gave CM a 34-7 lead as the third quarter expired.
“They made a few plays here and there that got us on broken coverage,” said Herron. “It just spiraled after that.”
The visiting Eagles just had to manage the clock and not make any silly mistakes in the final 12 minutes. They did just that and added a long rushing touchdown from Luke McCoy with less than two minutes to go for good measure.
The score was 40-7 after the extra point attempt doinked off the upright, and that would be the final.
Outside of their fumbled snap on their first offensive play of the football game, it was just about a perfect performance from CM. There were some penalties that coach Reinhart will want to see cleaned up, but that's part of fielding a young team and laying a foundation after a tough 2022.
The win takes Reinhart to the century mark as Eagles head coach, a mark few reach in the world of high school football. After the win, he remembered his early days as a coach, where Mount Carmel coach Larry Davis won his 100th game against Reinhart’s Eagles team.
“I remember it like yesterday,” said Reinhart. “(Larry Davis) got his 100th win against us. That’s when I thought, ‘I want to get to that’. I’ve got over 200 wins, but (to reach 100) at one school. I’m just so happy, happy for my family, it’s just great.”
“Really proud of my coach,” said CM wide receiver Parker Parnell. “Really good night, we came together as a team.”
CM takes a 2-0 record into next week’s big showdown with Roxana. It will be CM’s first home game of the season as they look to stay unbeaten.
“Glad we’re 2-0, we didn’t get off to a great start,” noted Reinhart. “But in a way that worked to our advantage, we regrouped.”
EAWR falls to 0-2 with the defeat but looks to regroup when they head to Public School Stadium to take on Marquette Catholic next Saturday afternoon.
“We haven’t had luck in that stadium,” said EAWR head coach Garry Herron, looking forward to week three. “But we’ve got to come out aggressive, we’ve got to come ready to play.”
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