CAHOKIA HEIGHTS - The Edwardsville football team's defense allowed a 71-yard touchdown pass from Zion Taylor to Stephon Moore on the first play of the game. After that, it was all Edwardsville.
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The Tigers got touchdowns from six different players, including two on special teams, as Edwardsville took a 47-6 win over the Comanches in a week two game played at Cahokia High's Brien Field in Cahokia Heights.
The Tigers got great performances from different players all throughout the game. despite a rash of penalties, as Edwardsville put everything together in taking their second win in as many games.
Edwardsville head coach Kelsey Pickering said after the game in comments: "What we talk about is control. It's funny. Control the controllable. And there's things out of our control tonight, good, bad, indifferent. Everybody's playing, We're not going to make excuses or talk about those things. But what we'll talk about is the positives that we kind find. And we've gotta find the negatives, too. We'll go evaluate the penalties, because in week one, we had a lot of penalties as well. So, we need to find out the penalties and how to correct those things, because moving forward, we can't afford penalties."
The Tigers bounced back very nicely from giving up the big touchdown play at the start of the game.
"Yeah," Pickering said. "And kudos to them. They saw week one and they came out with the play-action and went deep. Good for them. It was a good play call."
After that, the Tigers went to work and played exceptionally well the rest of the way.
"That's what we talk about with our whole team," Pickering said, "whether offense, defense and special teams. Don't get too high, don't get too low, bad things are going to happen, good things are going to happen. So, when it doesn't go our way, we've got to figure out how to get right back to even again."
Quarterback Jake Curry had another impressive performance against a very physical Comanche defense, hanging in there and getting things done.
"My goodness," Pickering said. "You know what? One hundred percent, Jake battled tonight and he got a lot of hits. But just watching all of the play, everywhere on the field was physical tonight."
The two special team scores - a punt ret urn by Kellen Brnfre and a touchdown on the second half kickoff by Kaylon Bursey - were a big boost to Edwardsville. It's a point of pride to both Pickering and the special teams players as well.
"Last week, our special teams player of the week was Wyatt Kolnsberg," Pickering said. "We honor that weekly. It's very important to us, because I know people want to talk about offense and defense, I get that. But we wholeheartedly believe in the three prong of offense, defense and special teams. Without all three phases, we're not going to go anyplace we want to go."
But perhaps the biggest thing was that six different players scored touchdowns on the night for Edwardsville.
"Yeah, I'll have to look," Pickering said. "I'm not good at stats and knowing who did what. But I know it didn't seem like you see it. It seems like it was a different guy who scored tonight, which, again, as we continue through the season, that's a good feeling to build confidence with guys. Like we can do this with whomever."
It only took 11 seconds for Taylor to hook up with Moore for the opening-play touchdown pass, but after that, it was all Tigers. Edwardsville tied the game with 4:30 left in the first quarter on a two-yard touchdown run by Javion Smith to tie the game 6-6 after the conversion kick was blocked. At the start of the second quarter, the Tigers recovered a fumble and cashed in after having a Curry touchdown pass called back, due to a penalty. On the next play, Curry found Joey DeMare with a pass to the Cahokia four and right after that, Curry ran it in himself, then found Michael Hedge on a two-point convert to give Edwardsville a lead they wouldn't relinquish at 14-6 with 6:25 left in the first half.
The Tigers got their first special teams score of the season on the next possession, as Brnfre fielded a punt first-time and raced down the sidelines 42 yards for another touchdown, making the score 20-6 after a two-point attempt missed. The Tigers led at halftime 20-6.
Edwardsville got off to a dream start in the second half as Bursey took the kickoff, got some good blocks and zipped 80 yards down the far sideline for the touchdown that put the Tigers further ahead 27-6.
"You know? We talk a lot about it again," Pickering said. "It's another thing we really like, that we can come out in the second half and go down and score. That's big, because now, we can gain momentum back and change momentum, however that moment is in the game. And tonight, it's just coming out and making sure we get back to doing Tiger football and we did. We went down the field and scored and got us started in the second half. And it really propelled us the rest of the half."
That it certainly did, as the Tigers were able to keep the momentum up and were able to put together good drives. Gavyn Yates went 15 yards for a touchdown with 5:02 left in the third to make the score 33-6, then early in the fourth quarter, Stephen Moore, Jr. went 14 yards for another touchdown which pushed the score to 41-6 and on what turned out to be the last play from scrimmage, Yale Weaver went in from three yards out after an interception to give Edwardsville its 47-6 win.
The Comanches are now 1-1 and play at Granite City next Friday night, while the Tigers go to 2-0 and host St. Louis Soldan International Studies at Tiger Stadium, also next Friday, with both games starting at 7 p.m.
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