EDWARDSVILLE - The Edwardsville High football team had a very strong performance in the second half of their IHSA Class 8A first-round win over West Aurora, as Jaiden Vonner took an interception back 47 yards for a touchdown that broke a 7-7 halftime tie and sparked the Tigers to a 35-14 win over the Blackhawks to advance to the second round.
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On Saturday afternoon at Tiger Stadium, Edwardsville, now 9-1 on the season hosts their second-round game as the Tigers meet Glen Ellyn Glenbard West, currently 8-2, and go into the game as a 23-8 winner over Naperville North last week, in a 1 p.m. kickoff.
The winner faces the winner of the game Saturday evening between Elmhurst York and LaGrange Lyons Township in the quarterfinals next week.
The Tigers had an early turnover last Saturday and turned the ball over near the West Aurora goal line, and the Blackhawks turned it into a 95-yard touchdown drive to open the game. Although the Tigers got an equalizing touchdown in the second quarter, things didn't go very well, as dropped passes and inopportune penalties hurt the offense. Edwardsville came alive in the second half after the Vonner touchdown, scoring 28 unanswered points in taking a 35-7 lead.
Quarterback Jake Curry ran for 130 yards and a touchdown in the win over West Aurora, also passing for another touchdown. His running and passing ability will be very important for the Tigers. along with a varied running attack, led by junior Patrick Chism, with Steven Moore, Jr. and Gavin Yates also having big contributions in the ground game.
The passing attack will also be key for the Tigers, as receivers Joey DeMare, Kellen Brnfre and Kaylon Bursey lead a corps that has eight players over 100 yards in catches for the season.
The defense will also be very important for Edwardsville, having 18 takeaways so far this season.
The Hilltoppers visited St. Louis earlier this season, having lost 10-0 to DeSmet Jesuit in a week two matchup at East St. Louis. West tied for first at 5-1 with York in the West Suburban Conference Silver Division, winning the league on a tiebreak. Their only other loss was to Downers Grove North 31-0 in week three, but have won their last six straight, including the win over Naperville North.
Saturday's game will be available on a livestream on the NFHS Network website, but a subscription fee will be charged for access to the game. The quarterfinal dates and times will be announced by the IHSA office on Monday.
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