Friday, September 11, 2009

Edwardsville has outscored opposition by score of 102-6

Unbeatens will battle at East
Edwardsville has outscored opposition by score of 102-6

After slowing down Mount Vernon and Farmington (Mo.) in their first two games, the Belleville East Lancers now will try to set up a road block for Rodney Coe and the Edwardsville Tigers.

Both teams are 2-0 and will meet in a 7 p.m. Southwestern Conference showdown today at Belleville East.

The 6-foot-4, 242-pound Coe is considered one of the top junior recruits in the state and is being recruited by numerous schools in the Big Ten and Big 12 Conferences.

Edwardsville's top four rushers are all averaging more than 15 yards per carry, with the bruising Coe (257 yards, five TDs) leading the way.

"You've got to get him stopped before he gets going," Belleville East coach Tim Funk said. "He reminds me of Brandon Jacobs of the Giants that played at Southern Illinois.

"In terms of his size, his speed and ability to run, he's the full deal. He's huge."

Coe is a major component of second-year Edwardsville coach Mark Bliss' vexing single-wing offense.

"He's one of those kids that comes along every once in a while," Bliss said. "I've had a lot of Division I kids in my career and he references them favorably.

"He's just got that unique quality about him; he's very competitive and he's a big kid with good speed."

Edwardsville running backs Max Andresen (172 yards, five TDs) and Eric Vinyard (160 yards, one TD) also have enjoyed early success.

The Lancers also like to grind it out on the ground.

Flashy running backs Darnell Stevenson (five touchdowns), and Kevin Gettis (four) have combined for nine of East's 10 touchdowns.

Stevenson has 126 yards on only 12 carries (10.5-yard average), while Gettis is averaging 9.1 yards with 109 yards on 12 carries. Former Althoff standout Keith Chism has 77 yards on eight carries.

"We're a lot further along than we were last year going into Week 3, but we've got to keep getting better," Funk said.

East is fourth in the News-Democrat Large-School rankings and 10th in the Class 8A state poll, while Edwardsville is fifth in the local poll.

"We really don't look at the polls," Funk said. "That's unimportant to us. My biggest concern is that as a team, we get better every week. At this point in the season it's a big game."

Edwardsville warmed up for its Southwestern Conference opener by pummeling overmatched Roosevelt from St. Louis (56-6) and (Chicago) Corliss (46-0).

The Tigers' offense features direct snaps to running backs at times, along with a lot of motion.

"Execution is always the key with any offense," Bliss said. "It's got some complexity to it and deception, but once they understand it and execute it, it's fun to watch."

Running the Tigers' offense is quarterback Chase Westra (5-of-12 passing for 100 yards and two TDs). The Lancers haven't thrown a lot, but Cory Schaab (8-of-14, 96 yards) has been efficient.

Edwardsville has a stiff defense led by linebacker Bryan Reller (6-3, 190) and bookend defensive tackles Brandon Bradford (5-11, 306) and Vincent Valentine (6-4, 300), a sophomore.

Funk said Wisconsin recruit and defensive line standout Warren Herring may see more time at tight end this week, while defensive back Ryan Herring may play some running back.

Belleville News-Democrat
120 South Illinois
PO Box 427
Belleville, IL 62220


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