EDWARDSVILLE - The Edwardsville High football team hosts Wilmette Loyola Academy in a rematch of the 2017 Class 8A semifinals, while Collinsville plays at traditional Chicagoland power Brother Rice Catholic in a Class 7A game, East St. Louis plays at Normal Community West, Highland hosts fellow Mississippi Valley Conference school Mascoutah, Roxana plays host undefeated Fairbury Prairie Central and Jacksonville Routt Catholic plays host to another traditional East Central power, Tuscola, in Class 1A as the second round of the IHSA football playoffs take place around the state on Saturday afternoon and evening.
The Tigers host the Ramblers at 1 p.m., while the Kahoks are at the Crusaders in a 6 p.m. kickoff, the Flyers take on the Wildcats at 1 p.m., it'll be the Indians at the Bulldogs in a 2 p.m. kickoff, the Shells play at Charlie Raich Filed against the Hawks in a 2 p.m. start and in Class 1A contests, Camp Point Central plays at home against Sesser Valier, Greenfield Northwestern plays at home against Toledo Cumberland and the Rockets take on the Warriors, with all three games starting at 2 p.m.
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Edwardsville is coming off an exciting 43-36 win at O'Fallon last Saturday night in the first round, while Loyola defeated Plainfield South 42-7 in their opener, also played last Saturday. It'll be the first time the Tigers and Ramblers have played each other since the 2017 Class 8A semifinals on a cold and rainy afternoon in which Loyola won 17-10 and went on to the final, losing to Frankfort Lincoln-Way East 23-14.
Quarterback Jake Curry threw for four touchdown passes in the game against the Panthers, three to Daion Gaston and another to Joey DeMare, and going into the game 97-for-151 passing for 1,496 yards and 22 touchdowns. He's also ran for 202 yards and seven more touchdowns in helping out with a very good Tiger rushing attack. De'Shawn Larson leads the way with 498 yards on the ground, also scoring six touchdowns, including a late winner against O'Fallon. Jordan Bush has ran for 402 yards and six touchdowns, while Patrick Chism has added 132 yards and two touchdowns.
Gaston's three touchdown receptions, which included a 55-yard catch where he faked a defender out with a brilliant spin move on the sideline to take it in, helped bring his season total to 32 catches for 617 yards and 10 touchdowns. He also took a kickoff back 85 yards for another touchdown that turned out to be a big play in the game. Kellen Brnfre is also a vital part of the Edwardsville air attack, catching 31 balls for 419 yards and three scores. Larson has also added 11 receptions for 228 yards and four touchdowns and DeMare had a big 87-yard reception in the winning drive late, contributing eight catches for 176 yards and four touchdowns.
Winning the turnover battle is always key for the Edwardsville success, and Jaiden Vonner has come up with three interceptions to help the Tigers, while Dalton Brown has picked off two passes. Overall, Edwardsville has 13 takeaways defensively and it's been a key factor to the team's success this year.
The Ramblers-Tigers winner will advance to the quarterfinals and will play the winner of LaGrange Lyons and Plainfield North next weekend. The sites, dates and kickoff times will be announced on Monday afternoon in the IHSA office.