EDWARDSVILLE – Edwardsville enters the Friday night Southwestern Conference home clash against Belleville East (7 p.m. at Tiger Stadium) at 4-0 overall, 2-0 in the league.
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In doing so, they've had to overcome mistakes and penalties, including some miscues that put them behind early in their win at O'Fallon. While curbing those errors is an ongoing process for the Tigers, EHS coach Matt Martin has told the team one simple thing.
“We've told them that they're just one bad Friday night away from losing the conference championship,” Martin said. “Winning the conference is always one of our goals going into every season and the best way to do that is to go unbeaten in the conference.”
They will certainly face a stiff challenge from the Lancers, who, under first-year coach Kris Stephens, enter the contest at 3-1 overall and 2-0 in the league; they defeated Alton last week 42-14 and their only loss came in Week 1, when they dropped a decision to Normal Community.
“They have a good-balanced offense,” Martin said. “They can both run and throw and have some very good playmakers.”
One of those playmakers is their quarterback, Drew Milas, who has thrown for 944 yards and 13 touchdowns on the season and has also run for 206 yards and three touchdowns. “He's a dual thereat,” Martin said. “He's not just a thrower; he knows where to go on the field and he knows how to make plays with his feet.”
Other players the Tigers will have to watch out for include Moses Holman, who has 355 yards and four touchdowns on the year; Isaiah King, who has 28 receptions for 434 yards and eight major scores; and Quantavius Alexander, who has 20 catches for 215 yards and a touchdown. On defense, Javell Rice leads the Lancers with 22 tackles, a fumble recovery and an interception; Jewell Smith has added nine tackles and two picks and Shemar Welch has 35 tackles and an interception.
“No doubt, we'll be facing a good team,” Martin said.
Edwardsville has no shortage of top players themselves; quarterback Riley Jones has thrown for 380 yards on the year with four touchdowns and has also run for 333 yards and scored three times; Jackson Morrissey is the Tigers' top threat on the ground, having run for 408 yards and scored seven times, with Chrys Colley adding four catches for 95 yards and a TD and Nathan Kolesa has five catches for 83 yards and two touchdowns on the year. On defense, A.J. Epenesa has 16 tackles on the year with three sacks and two fumble recoveries, while Jourdyn Jones has 17 tackles and three interceptions and Cyress Ahart has 20 tackles and a pair of sacks on the year.
“We've got some solid players and our offensive line is improving every day in practice. They're all working really hard.
“We're looking forward to being at home this week. Our fan support is tremendous and we're looking forward to the challenge this week.”
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