EDWARDSVILLE - The Edwardsville High School football team held its annual Orange and Black Scrimmage Friday night at Tiger Stadium as the climax to its annual football carnival, where all levels of Tiger football were both introduced and also scrimmaged prior to their 2023 debuts.

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The scrimmages also served as a community service project for the programs, as fans gained admission with a contribution of a can of non-perishable food which was donated to the Ed-Glen Food Pantry to help families and people in need.

The carnival started with a scrimmage by the Tigers' freshman team, then the introduction of the Little Tigers football teams, who also scrimmaged. The teams from Lincoln and Liberty Middle Schools then scrimmaged against each other for 75 minutes, followed by a scrimmage between the Edwardsville sophomore and junior varsity teams. The event was finished with the annual varsity scrimmage, where players at all levels showed how hard they have worked in preseason practice and showed that they were ready to start the season.

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In the case of the Tigers' varsity, that happens next Friday when Edwardsville hosts Jackson, Mo. in a rematch of a classic battle that started off the 2022 season, where the Tigers rallied from a halftime deficit to defeat the Indians 41-34 in double overtime. The win ended a long-standing home winning streak for Jackson, considered one of the best programs in southeast Missouri.

The standards and expectations for Edwardsville won't change, although there will be a new head coach on the sidelines. Kelsey Pickering, the Tigers' longtime defensive coordinator, takes over the helm from former head coach Matt Martin, and Pickering is looking forward to keep the Edwardsville football tradition going.

"What's really nice is I don't think the expectations of Tiger football change," Pickering said in an earlier interview. "I think there's always that goal that had been set long before we even got here. And I think it's about carrying those traditions and doing the right things about how it's supposed to be done. And so for me, it's just trying to continue the success. Edwardsville is a successful place and now, we have to figure out how to try to go even further than we've ever been before."

The Tigers and Indians kick off the 2023 regular season at Tiger Stadium at 7 p.m. on Aug. 25. Edwardsville then plays at Cahokia in week two, then comes home for a week three match against St. Louis Soldan International Studies, a magnet school, Sept. 8 before starting the Southwestern Conference schedule in a week four game at O'Fallon Sept. 15. The Tigers play a week five game at Belleville West Sept. 22, then host Alton Sept. 29 in week six before taking on the stretch run. It starts on week seven at Belleville East on Oct. 6 before hosting East St. Louis in the team's annual Senior Night game on Oct. 13 at home in week eight, ending the regular season at DeSmet Jesuit on Oct. 20. All games start at 7 p.m.

Dan Brannan also contributed to this story.

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