Edwardsville tries to keep on marching to football playoffs at Belleville East
EDWARDSVILLE - The Edwardsville football Tigers (3-3 overall, 2-1 in the league) hope to continue their winning ways when they travel to Belleville East (1-5, 1-2) in a Southwestern Conference game kicking off at 7:30 p.m.
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The Tigers are coming off an impressive 57-10 win over O’Fallon last week, while the Lancers won at Alton 21-9. In the win over O’Fallon, Luke Oglesby had a touchdown and passed for another before coming out due to injury. Kendall Abdur-Rahman, himself coming off an injury, came in and both ran and passed for a touchdown himself in a 50-point first half.
Tigers' head football coach Matt Martin said he considers every game of the last three confrontations as playoff games.
"We have to win each week, so every week is important," he said.
Abdur-Rahman enters Friday’s game 13-of-32 passing for 281 yards and six touchdowns, while Oglesby is 26-of-41 for 371 yards. Both are proficient on the ground as well, with Abdur-Rahman carrying 63 times for 518 yards and nine touchdowns, and Oglesby carrying 26 times for 96 yards and three scores.
The backfield combo of Justin Johnson, Jr. and Dionte Rodgers look to continue to keep things going with the running attack. Johnson has carried 71 times for 354 yards and six touchdowns, while Rodgers has carried 17 times for 129 yards and a touchdown. Both have added much to the passing game, as Johnson has nine catches for 95 yards and a touchdown, while Rodgers has 11 catches for 206 yards and two touchdowns.
Tiger receivers Chase Moore and Lavontas Hairstonn both had good games against the Panthers. Moore currently has seven receptions for 171 yards and two touchdowns, while Hairston has caught six balls for 107 yards and two touchdowns.
Defensively, Ethan Young had his best game of the season, forcing three takeaways, including a 47-yard interception return for a touchdown in the early stages of last week’s game. Young has three interceptions and a fumble recovery on the season to go along with 17 tackles and two assists. Rodgers has also added five picks on the season, while Jacob Morrissey and Ryan Strohmeier continue to be the team’s leading tacklers.
The Lancers’ leading rushers are Jeremy Schooler, who has 260 yards in 64 attempts and a touchdown, and Kienan Waller, with 25 carries for 179 yards and three touchdowns. Waller is the East quarterback and is 54 of 112 passing for 703 yards and six touchdowns. Mikey Foster leads the receivers with 18 catches for 135 yards and a touchdown, while Jaiden Harris-Hemphill has 14 catches for 172 yards and a touchdown. Jaelyn Ford is next with 12 catches for 209 yards and three touchdowns, and Yohance Flager has 11 catches for 274 yards and a touchdown.
Bruce Harris leads the Lancer defense with 23 tackles and seven assists, followed by Rakweon Ramsey, with 21 solos, 10 assists and a fumble recovery. Bryson Ivy leads the team with three interceptions.
Coach Martin said Belleville East's quarterback Kienan Waller throws a good ball and makes people miss in the running game.
"Belleville East's quarterback has some pretty good receivers," Coach Martin said. "Offensively, they give you multiple looks which create challenges and they have speed and are physical. We have to execute well and hold onto the football and good things will happen for us."
The Tigers' highly touted quarterback Kendall Abdur-Raham appears healthy again and will direct the Edwardsville offense. Backup quarterback Luke Oglesby's status for Friday night was uncertain.
"Luke is banged up a bit and Kendall will step in and execute," Coach Martin said. "Both Kendall and Luke have their strengths. Luke did a good job when Kendall was out injured.
"We have to focus on East (Belleville) and win out the rest of the season," Martin said.
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