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      Flyers Rebound Big Over O fallon 55 to 10

Wounded Flyers get cruched by conference rival Edwardsville

EAST ST. LOUIS • Terry Beckner Jr. received his All-American jersey at halftime, but Dan Marinko was the most electrifying player on the field.

Edwardsville's senior quarterback threw for 441 yards and seven touchdowns Saturday as the Tigers dismantled Beckner and Southwestern Conference rival East St. Louis 57-32.

“The stats go in my category but without the receiving corps and the O-line none of that happens,” Marinko said. “That's a complete team effort right there.”

The No. 2 large school in the STLhighschoolsports.com rankings, Edwardsville (2-1 overall, 1-0 league) never punted and scored on eight of its first nine possessions. Markino connected with wide receiver Fontez Davis for a 52-yard touchdown pass three minutes into the game. It was a sign of things to come.

Davis finished with seven receptions for 247 yards and three touchdowns, one of which went 92 yards on a third-down play.

“When we see man coverage we have to take advantage of it,” Davis said.

No. 6 East St. Louis (0-3, 0-1) answered that first touchdown when quarterback Rayondus Estes hit wide receiver Jeff Thomas down the middle for a 67-yard strike on the third play of the Flyers' first drive.

But the Flyers couldn't keep up with the Edwardsville offensive machine. The Tigers scored 21 consecutive points as Marinko rushed for a short score and Jackson Morrissey and Davis both caught touchdown passes.

East St. Louis would cut the lead to 27-18 with more than four minutes to play in the first half as running backs Natereace Strong and Marvin Young both rushed for touchdowns. Edwarsdville's only turnover gave the Flyers a short field that Young converted, but that was as close as the Flyers would get.

Edwardsville wide receiver Isaiah Michl caught a 66-yard touchdown pass before halftime as the Tigers took a 34-18 lead into the locker room.

During the intermission, Under Armour presented Beckner, East St. Louis' nationally ranked defensive lineman, with a jersey to celebrate his selection as an All-American. If the Flyers had hopes of more highlights in the second half, they evaporated quickly.

Morrissey went 41 yards on a quick pass from Marinko for his second score of the game. On its next two possessions, Edwardsville poured it on as Davis scampered 92 yards and Tommy Maxwell caught a 35-yard touchdown pass for a 54-18 lead. The Tigers would have hung 60 on the Flyers but settled for a field goal early in the fourth quarter after getting stuffed inside the 10-yard line on three tries.

“It would have been nice to put up 60, but we got the win,” Marinko said.

East St. Louis scored twice more as Strong and Young each picked up touchdowns. Strong finished with 130 yards rushing and Young had 96.

Thomas, a sophomore and one of the area's elite receivers, was playing with an obvious limp and with his left ankle heavily wrapped. He had 164 yards receiving including a spectacular one-handed grab on a pass thrown behind him.

“Jeff Thomas, is he not amazing? He's better on one leg than most guys are on two,” Edwardsville coach Matt Martin said.

After a heartbreaking loss last week at Illinois Class 8A No. 1-ranked Loyola, Edwardsville turned right back around and crushed the program with the most victories in Illinois history and gave itself the inside track to defend its Southwestern Conference crown.

“I think we improved some of the things we do (this week),” Martin said. “We were able to take some of those mistakes and have a good day.”

East St. Louis coach Darren Sunkett was not available for comment


Wounded Flyers get pumped up for conference opener against Edwardsville

EAST ST. LOUIS — The East St. Louis Flyers head into their Southwestern Conference opener on Saturday a wounded football team.

Consecutive losses to perennial national powers (Cincinnati) St. Xavier and (Lombard) Montini have taken their toll physically on the Flyers who have a number of players banged up and bruised as they prepare to host Class 7A state power Edwardsville at 1 p.m. at Clyde Jordan Stadium.

But attitude wise, the Flyers are still upbeat, according to coach Darren Sunkett.

"This is a good group of kids. They are all still up and positive. The big thing right now is that we've got to get healthy," Sunkett said. "We lost our defensive back Adrian Smith for the season with a broke ankle last week against Montini and that's a big loss, but we expect to have else back.

"But the kids aren't down at all. We lost to extremely good football teams the last two weeks. We've been here before. In 2009 we lost our first two games and ran off 10 straight wins to get to the state semifinals. That's what it all about. Preparing for the postseason."

Among the players battling injuries are sophomore wide receiver Jeff Thomas and sophomore quarterback Rayondus Estes. Thomas tweaked his tender right ankle for the second straight week against Montini but still caught three passes for 72 yards and a touchdown.

Estes took a hard hit in the second half a week ago, leaving him groggy. Both are expected to play against Edwardsville.

Sunkett said he was very pleased with the progress of Estes who in just his second varsity start completed 11 of 17 passes for 21 yards an two touchdowns.

"For a sophomore quarterback playing in his second varsity game and against one of the top programs in the state to have the kind of day that Estes had. I thought he played very well," Sunkett said. "He made some great reads and did a good job of making smart decisions with the football."

The Flyers got a monster game from senior running back Natereace Strong. The Missouri recruit rushed for 290 yards and two touchdowns as he enjoyed his finest day in an injury-prone four-year varsity career.

"Nate was Nate. We always knew he had great ability and speed but has been unlucky with the injuries for much of his career," Sunkett said. "We were hoping he would have that break out game and on Saturday he did.

"If he continues to play like that, it will allow us to open up our offense even more."

Sunkett know the Flyers will face another major challenge this week in Edwardsville. The Tigers are 1-1 after losing to (Lincolnshire) Stevenson last week's opponent

"It's another tough opponent for us. But we've had tough opponents the last two weeks. We just need to be ready to play good, hard football for 48 minutes or longer if need be," Sunkett said. "I'm not big on moral victories. A loss is a loss and as a competitor, that's not acceptable.

"But in terms of the effort and our performance from week one to week two, I was pleased at how we played against Montini. We had 500 yards of offense. We just need to get healthy


Read more here: http://www.bnd.com/2014/09/10/3394785_wounded-flyers-get-pumped-up-for.html?rh=1#storylink=cpy

 East St. Louis ,Edwardsville to meet this week after strong showings in Chicago


Having top-ranked Loyola Academy on the ropes Saturday proved far easier than putting the Ramblers away on their home field.

Third-ranked Edwardsville led Loyola 21-0 and despite accounting for seven interceptions, one of which was returned 55 yards for a touchdown by sophomore A.J. Epenesa, the Tigers lost a 29-28 heartbreaker in overtime.

"Hopefully it shows them that we're good enough to compete with anybody," Edwardsville coach Matt Martin said. "They're preseason No. 1 ranked, we'll see what it all comes out to be. They are a good team with a great tradition and they're one of the best teams in the state year-in and year out.

"There's a lot of positives on our part."

Most of those came in the first half as the opportunistic Tiger defense hounded Loyola quarterback D.J. Melsheimer into five interceptions and cashed in several of those for points.

"We played pretty smart football and did all the little things right in the first half," Martin said. "That changed in the second half, we were turning the ball over and losing field position. We missed some assignments on defense that gave them big plays."

Loyola's fortunes changed after backup Emmett Clifford replaced Melsheimer early in the third quarter.

He led the Ramblers to touchdowns on two of his first three drives, also scoring on a 5-yard run to tie it 21-21 with 2:35 remaining. He completed 8-of-14 passes for 118 yards.

Edwardsville still seemed poised for a win when quarterback Dan Marinko hit Isaiah Michl on a 5-yard TD pass on the first possession in overtime. The extra-point by Trentan Daley left the Tigers with a 28-21 lead.

Loyola took over and was facing fourth-and-goal at the 5 when Clifford threw a TD pass to Owen Buscaglia.

Instead of going for the tie while lined up to kick the extra point, Loyola ran a fake and holder Aidan Walsh, the third-string quarterback, was able to get the ball off in time to find an open Brian O'Brien in the end zone for the game-winning 2-point conversion.

The Tigers anticipated a possible fake.

"We talked about it on the sidelines," Martin said. "It takes time to get off your knee, turn around and find who's open. I was hoping we could get pressure to them before they could get the throw off.

"He was getting tackled (by Edwardsville's Kyler Davis) as he was throwing the ball."

Marinko was 17-for-29 for 238 yards and one TD, also running for a pair of touchdowns. He was intercepted twice in the second half.

Jourdy Jones had two of Edwardsville's seven interceptions.

Two nailbiters in Chicago for the SWC

While Edwardsville nearly pulled off the win, Southwestern Conference rival East St. Louis also had top-ranked Montini on the ropes Saturday before dropping a 46-32 decision in Lombard.

East Side (0-2) and Edwardsville (1-1), both state-ranked teams, face each other at 1 p.m. Saturday at Clyde C. Jordan Stadium in East St. Louis in what figures to be one of the top games this season.

The Flyers (0-2) got 290 yards rushing and two TDs from Missouri recruit Nate Strong and pushed the home team hard, leading 20-10 before fading in the second half.

"Their offensive line is big and physical and they have a good fullback," Martin said of the Flyers. "Strong's a big, strong, fast kid with a lot of experience. If you don't try to contain their running game, bad things are going to happen."

Injuries also were a big factor in the loss as Flyers' star sophomore receiver Jeff Thomas was dealing with an ankle injury suffered in the opener.

The Flyers also had 495 yards of total offense but were severely limited by injuries, including a late one to quarterback Rayondus Estes


Read more here: http://www.bnd.com/2014/09/08/3391085_edwardville-east-st-louis-to-meet.html?rh=1#storylink=cpy

Montini's Thornton, Norgle have big days in win over East St. Louis

Montini took a knockout blow and delivered one of its own during the first two weeks of the season

After allowing 21 points in the last three minutes in a one-point loss to Maine South in Week 1, No. 15 Montini rebounded from a rough start Saturday with four straight touchdown drives in a 46-32 victory against East St. Louis.

The Broncos (1-1) fell behind 13-0 four minutes in when Natereace Strong scored on an 80-yard touchdown run and Raekwon Griffin added a 81-yard score on a punt return.

Montini avoided an 0-2 start by wearing down the Flyers (0-2) and receiving big games from receiver Leon Thornton III and quarterback Chuck Norgle.

The Indiana-bound Thornton caught 12 passes for 181 yards and three touchdowns and had several long returns on punts and kickoffs. Norgle struggled early against a fierce pass rush, but managed to throw for 300 yards and two touchdowns and scored on a pair of 1-yard runs.

"It was a huge win, especially after the collapse we had last week," Montini coach Chris Andriano said. "I knew that it was going to be a test. Our kids passed, especially after falling behind early and after we had to come back the way we did."

The Broncos had trouble stopping the Missouri-bound Strong, who rushed for 270 yards on 28 carries and two touchdowns, and allowed six first-half sacks.

East St. Louis senior defensive tackle Terry Beckner Jr., the No. 3 overall recruit in the country according to 247Sports.com, overpowered Montini's offensive line early as the Flyers took a 20-10 lead.

Montini linebacker Samuel Asta started the rally with a pair of first-quarter fumble recoveries, including a game-turning 9-yard touchdown on a scoop-and-score.

"They came out and really punched us in the mouth pretty good, but I'm so proud of our team that we were able to come back and hold them in the second half," Asta said.

The Broncos didn't allow a sack and made a critical goal-line stand in the second half. Thornton caught two third-quarter touchdown passes and Norgle added an insurance touchdown with 6 minutes, 42 seconds left in regulat

"Our quarterback took a beating today, and our defense came back after allowing those two early scores," Thornton said. "This win was very important. We needed to start our run this season."

Player of the game: Leon Thornton III, Montini, 12 catches, 181 yards, 3 TDs.

Key performers: East St. Louis — Natereace Strong, 28 carries, 270 yards, 2 TDs; Antuan Quinlin, 3 sacks. Montini — Chuck Norgle, 24-for-35, 300 yards, 2 TDs; 2 TDs rushing; Samuel Asta, 2 fumble recoveries, including 9-yard TD return.


Simms anchors East St. Louis's line


















East St. Louis lineman Tre'Vour Simms takes part in a drill at practice on Tuesday, August 19, 2014 at 

East St. Louis High School. Paul Kopsky, STLhighschoolsports.com 

Tre'vour Simms toted the rock once or twice.

That was plenty.

“I ran the ball a couple of times. It's very tiresome,” Simms said. “I don't know if I can sprint on a breakaway for 100 yards.”

A junior offensive linemen for the East St. Louis football team, the 6-foot-5 and 300-pound Simms prefers pancaking opponents over running past them. One of two returning starters to the Flyers offensive line, Simms will be leaned on heavily to provide leadership and experience.

The Flyers have a tough early-season schedule. They host Southwestern Conference rival Edwardsville in their home opener on Sept. 13. Edwardsville had a ferocious defense last season and will do its best to test the Flyers line.

Not that any of this is news to Simms. A lineman since he started playing as a kid, the 16-year-old understands that the biggest players on the field are often the most overlooked. There are only rare occasions spectators notice the offensive line and it's usually when something goes bad.

“You're the heart of the team,” Simms said. “You can pretty much tell how the game is going by the offensive line. If the offensive line dominates the game we'll win.”

When not playing football you can find Simms playing – football, online. Simms spends his free time playing video games, mostly NBA 2K14, Madden and College Football. He said his favorite college team to play with is Ohio State.

“I'm a game-head,” he said. “I've been playing all my life.”

The No. 3 recruit in his class in Illinois by 247sports.com, Simms should have plenty of options when it comes to picking a college to call home after his senior year.

But, for the moment, he remains focused on this season.

“I still have a lot to prove this season, I'm just trying to stay hungry,” Simms said. “I'm not worried about (recruiting). I'm worried about attacking my junior season and helping my seniors get a state championship before they leave.”


Hello City of Champions Foundation fans. The past four years have been great and we were able to bring some of the best football talent in the country to East St. Louis. Due to the inability of scheduling the teams and games that we are use to providing, we are canceling the classic this year. We will bring  the classic back in 2015 for our 5th season. Stay tuned for more details as they become available. Once again thank you for your support.

                   Flyers grounded by St. Xavier

CINCINNATI — The East St. Louis football team found itself behind the eight ball Saturday afternoon and could never recover.

Playing in Ohio for the first time since 2009, the Flyers lost to host Cincinnati St. Xavier 35-20 on Saturday.

Flyers coach Darren Sunkett said first-game jitters and a 21-0 deficit at the 9:21 mark of the second quarter did East St. Louis no favors on Saturday.

The game was part of the 17th annual Skyline Chili Crosstown Showdown in Ohio. Sunkett said it was the fourth time the Flyers have played an Ohio team.

Punting woes and miscues on offense didn"t help the Flyers, who didn"t score until the 3:58 mark of the second quarter.

The Flyers also played most the game without top wide receiver Jeff Thomas, who injured his ankle at the 2:53 mark of the first quarter after a 16-yard reception.

"We had a lot of things that went wrong early in the first quarter," Sunkett said.

Despite five fumbles, the Bombers took advantage of early good field position and punting woes by the Flyers (0-1) in the first half.

"That's a real good football team we played," Sunkett said. "We need to execute and we just didn't do that today."

East St. Louis (0-1) reached the Illinois 6A state semifinals a year ago. East St. Louis is ranked No. 3 in the Associated Press Illinois State High School Preseason Football 6A poll.

Senior running back Natereace Strong, who had verbally committed to Missouri, had 56 yards rushing and two touchdowns.

The Flyers closed the gap to 28-20 when sophomore wide receiver Jermaine Grissom caught a 32-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Rayondus Estes with 6:52 left in the fourth quarter.

However, the Bombers added a rushing touchdown on a drive more than a minute later to seal the game.

The Bombers fumbled their opening drive of the second half. East St. Louis junior linebacker Jerod Robinson forced the fumble and recovered it on the run play.

Three plays later, the Flyers scored when Strong scored on a 1-yard touchdown run up the middle at the 10:20 mark of the third. That made it St. X 21-14.

St. X then fumbled on the ensuing kickoff return and East St. Louis took over but couldn"t convert on fourth down.

St. X (1-0), ranked No. 3 in the Cincinnati Enquirer large school area coaches" poll, had 267 yards of total offense to the Flyers" 175 yards.

St. X senior running back Ben Glines (Boston College commit) rushed for 126 yards and three touchdowns for the Bombers.

East St. Louis offensive lineman/defensive lineman Terry Beckner - the state's top recruit in the 2015 class - was named the Skyline Chili Crosstown Showdown team MVP for the Flyers.

Senior defensive back Kendall Poe (seven tackles), junior defensive back Markeith McGary (six tackles) and Robinson (5.5 tackles) were among other standouts for the Flyers.

East St. Louis plays at Montini Catholic at 3 p.m. Sept. 6.


Read more here: http://www.bnd.com/2014/08/30/3375835/flyers-grounded-by-st-xavier.html?sp=/99/205/220/#storylink=cpy

Winning tradition makes East St. Louis a special program










MaxPreps 2014 Illinois preseason football Fab 5

     

Any path to a potential Southwestern Conference football championship typically runs through East St. Louis.

The Edwardsville Tigers ran through an unbeaten regular-season last season on the way to a spot in the Class 7A semifinals and 12-1 record, but only beat the Flyers 29-28.

In fact, East St. Louis went through a rare two-game conference losing streak when it dropped another game the following week to O'Fallon.

However, the Flyers won their next eight games before a 7-6 loss to Oak Lawn Richards in the Class 6A semifinals ended their dream of an eighth state football title.

"Darren Sunkett's done a great job," O'Fallon coach Brandon Joggerst said of the Flyers' coach. "They're perennially deeper in the playoffs than most (area teams) and you know they're going to put a formidable product on the field every year. They don't have down years, so you know when you play them you've got to bring it."

Entering the 2014 season, which begins Friday, East St. Louis has more wins than any Illinois high school football program. Research released over the summer showed the Flyers with a record of 737-188-36 since 1925 for an incredible winning percentage of .786.

The Flyers' seven state titles are easily the most of any metro-east team. Althoff is second with three.

"In non-conference, traditionally they're playing the best teams they can find and it's no different this year," Joggerst said of the Flyers. "They find out right away what they need to work on and they improve. You know when you play them it's going to be a very physical, fast-paced game and you're up against a good team."

The Flyers' first four games this season are brutal.

They are on the road against St. Xavier from Cincinnati, Ohio, then travel to Chicago to face Montini. Montini's run of four straight 5A state titles ended last season with a second-place finish.

After that, it's back-to-back SWC games against Edwardsville and O'Fallon.

"It's a dogfight each and every week in our conference," Joggerst said. "Everybody's improved, even the teams that haven't fared well. Everybody's asking this time of the year how you're going to be. I feel very good with where we're at, but the problem is the league is a step better than it's been the last few years."

Football doubleheader

Usually when two teams play each other twice in one season, the second meeting is in the state playoffs.

That's not the case for Cahokia Conference rivals Carlyle and Wesclin, which will meet once in am Oct. 3 conference game and then play each other again Oct. 24 in a nonconference game.

"I've heard of other schools doing it, but this is the first time we've done it," Carlyle Athletic Director Darin Smith said. "We both had issues getting someone our size and without traveling four or five hours. We just ust decided to try it and see how it goes.

"From a travel standpoint you can't beat it, a 20-mile round trip."

Kicker central

While Belleville West senior kicker Austin Seibert has already made a verbal commitment to Oklahoma, don't overlook O'Fallon junior kicker Tucker McCann.

"Seibert's very special and hopefully (McCann) can be in a somewhat similar fashion in the junior class," Joggerst said.

During O'Fallon's scrimmage Friday, McCann booted a 60-yard field goal and may have the leg to go a little further.

"It was a controlled field goal in a scrimmage, but he's been kicking the ball really well," Joggerst said. "He started at about the 40 and worked his way back. It was nice, we had a really good-sized crowd there and he had the spotlight there for a few minutes."

McCann had eight field goals and 28 extra-points last season as a sophomore.

Looking for a conference

Mater Dei coach Jim Stiebel said in an ideal world, the Knights would compete in the Mississippi Valley Conference or even the South Seven.

Instead, they remain one of seven football independents in Illinois and have a rugged 2014 schedule because of it.

"That's not on purpose," said Stiebel, whose team has faced Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin and Jacksonville in recent years and will take on Althoff and Quincy Notre Dame this season. "We tried with all our might to get into the Mississippi Valley Conference; they met and had a vote and we didn't get in there, but maybe they'll consider it for next year."

Why is it so tough for independents in football? Stiebel thinks qualifying for the state playoffs is the main issue.

"Teams want to make sure they get to six (wins to qualify) and I don't blame them," he said. "We need to get in a conference that would be competitive, but one where we don't have to face every team we play being a playoff team."

Contact reporter Norm Sanders at 239-2454, nsanders@bnd.com or follow him on Twitter: @NormSanders


Read more here: http://www.bnd.com/2014/08/23/3364025/winning-tradition-makes-east-st.html?sp=/99/205/220/#storylink=cpy

1. Bolingbrook
Head coach: John Ivlow
2013 Finish: 10-1
Team preview

A bevy of returning starters fill Bolingbrook's 2014 roster, making it the easy call for preseason No. 1 in Illinois. The defense allowed a mere 88 points in 11 games last year, and could improve on that mark.

See the Top 20 most dominant Illinois football teams in the MaxPreps era

2. East St. Louis
Head coach: Darren Sunkett
2013 Finish: 9-4
Team preview

Most larger schools in Illinois are located in the Chicago area, so East St. Louis often flies under the radar until playoff time. Natereace Strong and Jeff Thomas provide plenty of offensive weaponry. Terry Beckner is back off a nine-sack season.

See the MaxPreps Illinois football photo galleries

3. Mount Carmel (Chicago)
Head coach: Frank Lenti
2013 Finish: 13-1; Class 7A state champion
Team preview

If not for an October loss to Loyola Academy, Mt. Carmel would have finished undefeated last year. Matt Domer, Enoch Smith, and the rest of last year's senior class is gone. Those losses will hurt, but no Frank Lenti-coached squad will slip too far.

See the MaxPreps Illinois football playoff brackets

4. Loyola Academy (Wilmette)
Head coach: John Holecek
2013 Finish: 12-2
Team preview

D.J. Melsheimer should have a big year behind center for the suburban Chicago power. However, the defense should carry the Ramblers early on, as it projects to be more experienced than the offense to begin the season.

See the MaxPreps Illinois football computer rankings

5. Sacred Heart-Griffin (Springfield)
Head coach: Ken Leonard
2013 Finish: 14-0; Class 5A state champion
Team preview

       No. 1 Beckner mindful of Flyers' tradition

Terry Beckner Jr. doesn't take it personal. Truth be told, it's a compliment.

The No. 1 prospect in the Post-Dispatch Super 30, the East St. Louis senior defensive lineman understands every team that faces the Flyers will make it a priority to stop him.

Double teams are all but guaranteed. The plays all will be designed to run away from Beckner to avoid him.

When you're a 6-foot-4, 290-pound prospect with more Division I scholarship offers than you can count, that's just life.

“They're going to try and stop me, that's their job,” Beckner, 17, said. “I'm going to do my job and I'm going to do my part.”

Beckner's job has been to hand out the punishment. He racked up 126 tackles and eight sacks as a junior. His ferocity and talents have earned him high marks.

An All-Metro first-team selection, he is the No. 1 ranked recruit in Illinois and the No. 31 national recruit according to Rivals.com. He's the No. 19 national recruit and a five-star prospect according to 247sports.com. Among those chasing Beckner are Missouri, Ohio State, Florida State, Oregon, LSU and Auburn.

What's it like having college football royalty chasing you?

“It makes you feel good. It makes you want to go even harder,” Beckner said. “Everybody wants to come see you. Everybody wants you to come to their school. It motivates you.”

Also pushing Beckner is the sense of responsibility he feels to his team and community.

The city of East St. Louis takes a lot of pride in its football team. Beckner understands this and realizes what he does on the field is bigger than making tackles.

“You have to work hard on and off the field. You have to keep your grades up. You have to run, lift weights and everything that comes with it,” he said. “You've got all these people behind you. You don't want to let them down. With all the state championships they have here, you've got that pride around here. That's what you have to live up to.”

         No. 2 Strong triggers East St. Louis offense

Natereace Strong could watch film all day long.

As long as Al Pacino or Robert De Niro are in it.

“I'm a movie guy,” Strong, 18, said. “I like movies, sitting back and relaxing.”

A senior running back at East St. Louis, his favorite flick, after some careful thought, is the ever popular “Scarface” where Pacino's Tony Montana rises from common criminal to drug kingpin.

There's even a “Scarface” movie poster hanging up in the house.

“It's in the man cave,” Strong said.

Also in the running were “The Godfather,” “Casino,” “Goodfellas,” and the Jamaican crime cult classic “Shottas” which stars Bob Marley's son Kymani.

Strong is crazy for gangster flicks, but his highlight tape this year is expected to be a nightmare – for opposing defenders.

The No. 2 prospect in the Post-Dispatch Super 30, Strong has the potential for a spectacular finale with the Flyers. The 6 foot, 202 pounder will be one of the primary play makers for East St. Louis as it attempts another deep playoff run after falling in the Class 6A semifinals last season.

Strong rushed for 595 yards and five touchdowns last season as Gregory Taylor was the primary back. This year, it's Strong's turn to carry the load. It won't be easy. There is a certain level of performance expected when you suit up for the Flyers.

“There's definitely high expectations,” Strong said. “You have to live up to the name and play hard. We have to play as a team, as a family and make our community proud. We need to represent East St. Louis and have pride in the orange and blue.”

Next fall Strong will wear the yellow and black of the Missouri Tigers. His commitment to Mizzou was viewed as a significant addition to the newest SEC program. Rivals.com ranked him the No. 3 recruit in Illinois. He received scholarship offers from Florida State, Ohio State, Michigan State, Illinois and Kansas.

Strong said verbally committing to Mizzou was one of the best decisions he's ever made.

“It makes me more comfortable,” he said. “There's no pressure on me now. I can just sit back and focus on the season. Everybody's asking me where I'm going to go. I just tell them. My family and community are proud of me.

No. 2 Large school: East St. Louis set up to fly high

EAST ST. LOUIS • Darren Sunkett walked on to the field Tuesday at Clyde C. Jordan Memorial Stadium, looked at his team in the midst of a stretching drill and told the players to do it again.

“Everyone put your helmets on and start over,” said Sunkett, the East St. Louis football coach.

The pre-practice chatter ceased. Helmets were pulled on and buttoned. The players went through the drill again, this time with a precision that only comes with eyes watching.

Sunkett knows his Flyers won't be perfect, but it doesn't mean they can't try.

The No. 2 large school in the STLhighschoolsports.com preseason rankings, East St. Louis is and will continue to be measured against its glorious athletic past. The Flyers are the pride and joy of East St. Louis, and East Side High has sky-high expectations. A year after the Flyers went 9-4 overall, 5-2 in the Southwestern Conference and were eliminated in the Class 6A semifinals 7-6 by Oak Lawn, they are searching for some redemption.

Yes, Sunkett wants his team to put its past behind it, but he wants that season-ending defeat to be the motivation that can put the players over the top. Whether it's in the fourth quarter of the season opener Aug. 30 at St. Xavier in Cincinnati, or a stretching drill at the start of practice in sweltering heat.

“You want to put it away, but you also want to use it as motivation. You look back at the film and you see the ton of mistakes we made and just a lack of execution,” Sunkett said. “We don't think some of our guys went all out. We definitely use that as motivation for our guys.”

With five returning starters on both sides of the ball, there will be plenty of experience on the field at any given moment. The returning seniors are highlighted by highly sought defensive end Terry Beckner Jr. (6-foot-4, 290 pounds). Last season he had 126 tackles and eight sacks.

Ranked the No. 1 prospect in Illinois, No. 31 nationally by Rivals.com and a five-star recruit and ranked No. 19 in the nation by 247sports.com, Beckner will have his choice of top-level schools. He is being chased by Missouri, Ohio State, Florida State, Oregon and LSU among others.

Three of the Flyers' five returners were linebackers last season. Kenny Knight (6-2, 250), Demario May (5-11, 190) and Jerod Robinson (5-9, 205) again should see heavy minutes in the heart of the defense. Knight had 90 tackles and three sacks last season.

“Four of those guys are seniors, so they're going to bring great senior leadership to our defense,” Sunkett said. “Our thing now is to get the back end of our defense up to par. So far, during the summer, they've been doing a great job.”

Senior running back Natereace Strong (6-1, 210) is expected to be a workhorse for the Flyers after rushing for 595 yards and five touchdowns last season.

The No. 3-ranked prospect in Illinois, Strong has verbally committed to Mizzou. He has been offered scholarships by Florida State, Ohio State, Michigan State, Illinois and Kansas.

“We're going to lean on him heavily,” Sunkett said.

Also returning to the backfield is senior Marvin Young (6-0, 190), who rushed for 555 yards and two touchdowns.

Sophomore wide receiver Jeff Thomas (5-10, 167) was a revelation as the Flyers' top pass catcher. He finished his freshman season with a team-high 56 receptions for 988 yards and 10 touchdowns. He's joined by senior Raquan Griffin (5-11, 170), who caught 14 passes for 185 yards and one score last year.

Anchoring the offensive line is junior behemoth Tre'Vour Simms (6-5, 300), the No. 3-ranked prospect in his class in Illinois by 247sports.com.

Sophomore quarterback Rayondus Estes (6-0, 165) has been handed the keys to the offense.

“All we're asking him to do is manage the offense and distribute the ball,” Sunkett said. “He's done a pretty good job of doing that this summer.”

East St. Louis football team kicks off season with a string of tough opponents

By DEAN CRIDDLE

News-DemocratAugust 11, 2014 


EAST ST. LOUIS — East St. Louis football coach Darren Sunkett takes great pride in the fact that the Flyers have never backed down from a challenge either at home or on the road.

But in 2014, the challenge of getting off to a fast start will be even more difficult than usual for the Flyers.

The Flyers will open their season Aug. 30 when they travel to Cincinnati to take on perennial power St. Xavier High School.

The Bombers finished 5-6 a year ago, but have won a pair of state titles in the talent-rich football state of Ohio.

The Bombers-Flyers matchup is just the start of a brutally tough opening four weeks of the season for East St. Louis, which travels to take on perennial state champion Lombard Montini in week two before opening the Southwestern Conference season with Class 7A powers Edwardsville and O'Fallon in weeks three and four.

"It's a tough schedule for sure. But we believe that playing good competition makes you better and helps get you ready for the postseason,'' Sunkett said. "We also enjoy taking the team on trips like Cincinnati and Chicago (Lombard) to let them experience some different things and meet new people and opponents.

"We've had a great summer and the kids have done a good job in the weight room to get ready for the season. We like to challenge our kids. Hopefully, we're all ready for those challenges when the season starts in a couple of weeks.

East St. Louis was just one school that went through its first day of practice on Monday. Sunkett said about 55 players are currently in the Flyers program, including 30 freshmen.

East St. Louis finished 9-4 in 2013. Back to lead the Flyers this season are defensive tackle Terry Beckner Jr., running back Natereace Strong and sophomore Jeff Thomas

Beckner is ranked as one of the top defensive tackles in the nation, while Strong is a University of Missouri recruit.

Thomas is one of the top ranked sophomore wide receivers in the country.

Beckner to wait: Another of the big questions heading into the season centers around where East St. Louis senior defensive lineman Terry Beckner Jr. will go to college next year.

And when he will make the decision.

According to Rivals.com, the 6-foot-4 290-pound Beckner is the top-ranked recruit in the state among the Class of 2015.

Beckner is also the No. 32 ranked senior overall and No. 5 ranked defensive tackle in the nation.

Sunkett said every NCAA Division I perennial power in the nation -- with the exception of Alabama -- has shown interest in his All-American.

But according to Sunkett, coaches and scouts will have to wait for a while longer before learning of Beckner's decision.

'I would say that almost all of the top 25 teams in the nation are recruiting Terry,'' Sunkett said. "But Terry has told me he's going to wait. He's more concerned about doing what he can to help this team win football games this Fall.''


Read more here: http://www.bnd.com/2014/08/11/3345362/east-st-louis-football-team-kicks.html?sp=/99/205/220/#storylink=cpy

Boring Old White Guy What's the only school..with two four-star recruits on Scout.com (that I know of)? East St. Louis.

Friday, July 18, 2014  Terry Beckner  is a defensive end who has interest from Auburn, Ohio State, USC and, well, just about everybody else. And Natereace Strong is a running back committed to Missouri Shoot!, you're probably thinking, I live in the Chicago area. Do I have to wait until the playoffs to see these two guys?

And the answer is no. The Flyers will be at Montini in Week Two on Saturday, September 6. Last year the Broncos won, 34-6, on the road. This year the game will be sandwiched between two road trips for Montini, to Maine South in Week One and St. Rita in Week Three.

Unless you're a Loyola fan and plan on seeing the Ramblers host Edwardsville that day, you'd better put that game on your calendar and start searching for Lombard on a map.

Mike Tracy












                 Mike Tracy.   

                   my link.

            

                              ESL summer session drawing attention

   THE 2014 FLYERS claimed the trophy as the champs IN 7 0N 7 COMPETITION AT   Francis Howell North  sat June 21

                    Video's has no Audio

East St Louis vs McCluer North

     East st Louis vs Chaminade

O'Fallon's Moran, East St. Louis' Simms make prospect list

Scout.com released its list of the top 300 football players nationally in the Class of 2016 (juniors this fall) on Wednesday with a couple of familiar names among the ranked players.

Kentrail Moran of O'Fallon High was rated No. 42. He is the seventh-best player in the Midwest and No. 2 in Illinois. Last season, Moran rushed for 1,130 yards on 225 carries with eight touchdowns. He also caught 29 passes for 172 yards.

Moran, a stocky 5-foot-11, 195 pounds, is being recruited by numerous big-time schools including Cincinnati, Syracuse, Illinois, Iowa, Miami, Mississippi State, Ohio State and Vanderbilt.

East St. Louis offensive lineman Tre'Vour Simms, 6-foot-4, 267, is rated No. 185. He doesn't have a list of schools yet, but expect that to change soon.

Posted: Wednesday, June 25, 2014 9:04 pm

By Maurice Scott, Jr.

When you talk football with East St. Louis head coach Darren Sunkett these days, you can tell he has a sour taste left in his mouth after last season’s IHSA Class 6A semi-finals.

On that November blustery day, Oak Lawn Richards knocked the Flyers out of another state championship bid in a 7-6 heartbreaker. All of us in Flyers Nation were disappointed, as football is king here in East St. Louis.

Coach Sunkett and his boys have worked hard during the off-season, and other student -athletes are starting to take notice. Determination and focus by his coaches and players have attracted other talent at the high school to participate.

Several Flyers were highlighted in a recent on-line article on the football website edgytim.rivals.com. Of course leading the way was Terry Beckner Jr. The All-American lineman has offers from Pac-12 powers USC and  Oregon; Big Ten powers Ohio State, Nebraska  and Michigan; SEC schools Auburn, LSU and Florida; plus Florida State and Syracuse.

University of Missouri verbal commit Natereance Strong, along with lineman Kenny Knight and Trevor Simms, are also getting plenty of attention from major universities.

Sophomore Jeff Thomas is already one of the most skilled players in the history of the Flyers’ program. Thomas is considered the No. 1 wide-out in the class of 2017 by some publications. Thomas may be compared to former Flyers’  greats Homer Bush, Eugene Bryd or Terry Hawthorne before he's done.

Also drawing a lot of Division 1 interest are talented athletes such as Raekwon Griffin, Markeith McGary and Karon Randolph. All three are multi-talented athletes who are above-average basketball players as well, but have now leaned more toward football.

McGary is slated to lead the secondary, according to the article. Griffin had over 500 yards in receptions last season in only five games, due to injuries. He, along with Thomas and rising star Randolph (6'3”, 180 lbs.) form potentially one of the finest group of receivers in some time.

Randolph started thinking about having more options regarding college, especially after the Flyers’ loss to Belleville East in the Class 4A regional basketball tournament. Being a good student, Randolph’s mom decided to let her son play football again, for Sunkett.

Now, devoting himself to football under Coach Sunkett, Randolph has already caught the eyes of recruiters in the 7-on 7-camps and some other skills camps, to the point where he has been offered scholarships from several schools, including Kansas. Randolph started on the basketball team several games, but decided to give football a try again, which is something he hadn't done since middle school.

Hip, hip, hurrah!

It's good to see more kids, and parents like Karon’s mom, take control of their kid’s activities with some coaches and not limit their ability to play other sports.

In our program’s long athletic history, I can't remember an athletic director, who happens to be the head basketball coach, allow one of the nation’s top freshman prospects to be academically ineligible. And you had him with you all summer.

It wouldn’t happen under Bennie "Boss" Lewis, or the great Bob Shannon! Someone tell me when we started accepting this kind of athletic leadership?

More parents, alumni and coaches want to say what I’m saying, but are scared of retaliation. Parents fear, with only one high school in town, some coaches and administrators might not give their kids a fair shake




MARICE SCOTT

                      Spring Tour: East St. Louis

Throughout the month of May, PowerMizzou.com will be hitting a number of high schools that the Tigers are actively recruiting. On our PowerMizzou.com Spring Tour we will talk to players and coaches at each high school and give our subscribers a look at potential prospects in the Class of 2015 and beyond.

In each article, we will highlight a few high-level Division One players and look at some younger prospects that could see their names pop up on the recruiting radar in future years. Read below for information from the latest stop on our tour.

PROSPECTS AT EAST  ST. LOUIS

 Natereace Stong
RB
6-foot, 202-pounds

 Terry Beckner Jr.
DT
6-foot-4, 298-

Jeff Thomas
WR 5-foot-10, 165-pounds

Raekwon Griffin
WR5-foot-10, 183-pounds

Kenny Knight
OL/DL 6-foot, 236-pounds

Karon Randolph
WR
6-foot-3, 180 Lbs.

Markeith McGary
DB
5-foot-10, 170-pounds

Trevour Simms
OL
6-foot-3, 317-pounds



 In Cincinnati Ohio against St Xavier Aug 30th @3pm 2nd game September 6th @ 2pm against Montini in Lombard Il.  D'Wayne Sargent

Esl Flyers



Strong interest from teams wanting to play in 2015 classic. Cincy St. X, Lincoln out of Tall, Fl and St. Pete out of Jersey

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