Boys Varsity Football
Game Summaries & Headlines.
Redbirds following familiar script
A rerun performancewould be OK with AHS
Louie Korac For The Telegraph
Greg Shashack | The Telegraph
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Collinsville’s Drew Doyle takes down Alton’s Terrance Walker (8) after a big gain in the Redbirds’ 35-6 Southwestern Conference football victory over the Kahoks on Saturday afternoon in Collinsville.
COLLINSVILLE — Eric Dickerson has heard the script a time or 10.
The Alton Redbirds football team has followed a familiar path to last season through three weeks of action:
Lose to Highland in the season-opener, then win two games and use them as a springboard to what ultimately led the Redbirds to the postseason last year for the first time since 2006.
“That’s what they say,” Dickerson said after Alton beat Collinsville 35-6 on Saturday in the completion of a suspended game to move to 2-1 on the season and 1-0 in Southwestern Conference play.
Alton, which was shut out by the highly-touted Bulldogs 21-0 in its opener, went on the road and won a thrilling 41-37 game at Quincy last week in a tough venue (Flinn Stadium) before impressively putting together an effort spanning two days because of weather to dispose of the Kahoks (1-2, 0-1).
“Two in a row, a big win in Quincy and to come back and start a game on Friday and finish on Saturday and win, it’s a great start to our season,” Dickerson said. “But you know, it’s not defined on three games, so we’ll enjoy this win tonight and get ready for our next opponent.”
For Alton linebacker Izeal Terrell, who scored on a 1-yard plunge in the fourth quarter Saturday to seal the win, it’s a fun time to be around Redbird football these days.
Terrell, a senior, went through some lean years his freshman and sophomore seasons, winning only one game in two years.
Seems like an eternity ago after Alton went 6-5 last season and reached the second round of the state playoffs.
“I feel like there’s a lot more positivity and it’s a lot more fun to be around and to watch and play,” Terrell, committed to Southeast Missouri State, said. “Our crowd is great. We just enjoy playing. It’s really fun now.
“We want to build on what happened last year. I feel like we can do better, we have a good team and I feel like we didn’t lose a lot. I feel like we can do it. We felt confident coming into the season because we worked our butts off in the weight room this summer. I feel like it’s paying off and we could tell in a game like today.”
Sophomore running back Tim Johnson carried the load against Collinsville, going for 233 yards on 29 carries; he said with each passing game, the Redbirds, who host Belleville West on Friday, are growing with confidence.
“We’re getting confident,” Johnson said. “I feel like we’ll do real good this season actually. We’ve just got to go out and work hard.”
Alton led 7-0 when the game was suspended Friday because of lightning, and when it resumed Saturday afternoon, the Redbirds scored on the first play when the Kahoks botched the snap on the punt and sophomore Tristan Underwood recovered the ball for a touchdown. And when the Redbirds’ defense stiffened up and thwarted any momentum shift at the end of the half by keeping Collinsville from scoring to make it a one-score game, it was downhill from there.
But first-year Collinsville coach, and former Bunker Hill coach (2007-08), Mike Popovich wasn’t buying into that the game was won or lost there.
“That team hung 70 on our kids last year,” Popovich said, “so for us to come back and face the adversity and be resilient, I’m proud of them.”
What Alton wants to clean up heading into a matchup with West (3-0, 1-0), which is averaging 39 points per game through three games, is its kick coverage game and penalties. The Redbirds were flagged 12 times for 115 yards.
“Kick return, we need our kickoff (coverage) to shore some things up on there,” Dickerson said. “They got us on that reverse. Field position change, they flipped that on us a couple times too. We’ve got to take a look at that. I’m sure we’ll fix that up this week and be ready to go.”