The last time the East St. Louis Flyers lost a Southwestern Conference football game was on September 26, 2015.
The Flyers were defeated by the Belleville West Maroons. It was the game in which a video was produced of all of the fictional penalties that were called against East Side which led to their demise on this day. It would also be the last game of the season as a teacher’s strike in East St. Louis put an abrupt end to the season.
Since then, the Flyers have won 17 consecutive conference games and they look to make it 18 this weekend against Belleville West when the two heavyweights clash on Saturday for the conference championship. Make no mistake; these two really don’t like each other, so the intensity will be at an all-time high.
More than 6,000 fans are expected to be in attendance at Clyde C. Jordan Stadium in East St. Louis for his big showdown. Kickoff is at 1 p.m.
The Flyers (3-0 in SWC play, 4-1 overall), will be supercharged on Saturday afternoon for the homecoming queen and her court after giving Collinsville the boot in the backside 74-13 last week. The Kahoks will no longer compete in football in the SWC after this year and East Side gave them a parting gift by scoring 61 points in the first half while amassing 623 yards of total offense.
Sophomore quarterback Tyler Macon has combined for 17 touchdowns while passing for 851 yards and rushing for 456 yards. Receivers Antonio “AJ” Johnson and LaWaun Powell Jr. and Keontez Lewis all pose as scoring threats whenever they touch the ball.
Defensively, the Flyers are led by Demond Taylor (49 tackles) and Sidney Houston Jr. (60 tackles), while Johnson has a team-high three interceptions as a defensive back.
The Maroons enter the game with a 5-0 record and they will try to spoil East Side’s homecoming with quarterback Jackson McCloskey leading the way. He has passed for 1,016 yards and 20 touchdowns. Running back D.J. Johnson has rushed for 638 yards and six touchdowns.
The heart and soul of the Belleville West defense is two-sport star Keith Randolph Jr. He was a starting forward on the Belleville West basketball team that won the state championship last season and he has 25 Division I scholarship offers for football.
East St. Louis has played in front of some electric atmospheres this season, including a crowd of 9,000 in Detroit and 12,000 against Trinity. This weekend, we will see more of the same on Homecoming weekend.
Scott’s Pick: East St. Louis 37 Belleville West 18.
A couple of weeks ago, the East St. Louis administration found out during a special meeting of conference affiliates that the Flyers will no longer be able to petition the Illinois High School Association to play in the Class 7A playoffs, beginning next year. East Side is a Class 6A school by enrollment (and sometimes Class 5A), but it has been able to play in the Class 7A playoffs with bigger schools by petitioning the state.
The strange thing here is that neither Southwestern Conference commissioner Bill Schmidt, nor SWC president David Snyder will make a public comment as to why East Side won’t be allowed to do this, despite the fact that the IHSA has been allowing the Flyers to do so for years.
I smell a rat here. The conference allows Granite City to leave on what we now know was a lie, and for Collinsville to leave the conference next year in football only. But they want to punish the black students at East St. Louis.
East St. Louis is a charter member of the Southwestern Conference and it has always represented the conference very well and has been invited to participate in numerous state sanctioned events throughout the country for more than 50 years. But the more I think about this, it smells even worse because league Commissioner Bill Smith is the former Athletic Director at Belleville West as well as its former basketball coach.
And guess who usually ends Belleville West’s football season in the Class 7A playoffs every year?
You guessed right. East St. Louis!
I will have much more to talk about in the future, regarding this situation.