EDWARDSVILLE - The Edwardsville High football team, fresh off its dramatic 43-36 win at O'Fallon in the first round of the IHSA Class 8A playoffs, will play its second-round game at Tiger Stadium Saturday afternoon against Wilmette Loyola Academy in a 1 p.m. kickoff. The date and time will officially be announced by the IHSA on Monday afternoon.
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This will be the first meeting between the Tigers and the Ramblers since the Class 8A semifinals on Nov. 18, 2017, also at Tiger Stadium. On that date, Edwardsville lost to Loyola, a traditional power in Chicagoland, on a rainy, damp, and chilly day.
"There was some mist in the air," said Edwardsville head coach Matt Martin during a phone interview. "They were a good football team then as they are now from what I've seen on tape."
Martin recalled that game as one where both teams played very hard and well despite the conditions.
"Both teams played hard," Martin said, "and I think they got the win. They're one of the better teams in the state, year in and year out."
Martin and his players know what they'll have to do to come out on top against the Ramblers.
"Obviously, we'll have to play well," Martin said, "and what I mean by that is that we'll have to win the turnover battle and tackle well."
Edwardsville quarterback Jake Curry had a big game in the win over the Panthers on Saturday night, throwing four touchdown passes - three to Daion Gaston - and played well overall, with his offensive line playing well in front of him as well.
"Jake played well," Martin said, "and I thought the line blocked well. I think this is the best team we've faced all year," he also said about Loyola.
Martin is also very proud of his players and feels it's a great reward for them to move on and play in the second round after a big win over a Southwestern Conference rival. He knows they'll put in the work to be ready for the challenge from Loyola on Saturday.
"Yeah, for us to go on and beat O'Fallon in the playoffs was a great victory for our team," Martin said. "We'll work hard this week in practice and get ready for the Ramblers."
The winner of the game between the 7-3 Tigers and 9-1 Ramblers advances to the quarterfinals on Nov. 11-12 against the winner of LaGrange Lyons and Plainfield North.