Boys Varsity Football
Game Summaries & Headlines.
photo by Bill Roseberry
Terrence Walker and Ahmad Sanders
Ahmad Sanders and Terrance Walker wore a lot of different hats for the Alton Redbirds as seniors in 2018. In the end that versatility was a huge contributor in the Birds getting back to the playoffs for a second straight season.
Sanders and Walker played wide receiver, defensive back, were the main players in the return corps on special teams and even ran the football a little bit.
Walker scored touchdowns receiving, rushing, in the return game and on defense. He was a jack-of-all-trades for the Birds.
“I knew coming in from my junior year I had to be one of the main players on the team and had to get the job done,” Walker said. “I couldn’t let outside distractions interfere with me playing. I just came in confident I could get the job done and I performed.”
Sanders performed, too. He finished the season with a team-high five interceptions, including three in the first week of the season against Highland. Alton lost that game 21-0, but showed the playoff run of 2017 wasn’t just a fluke.
“It was big for me because I thought our team could prove something, but everyone was down on us coming into the season,” Sanders said of his three-interception game. “I just had to show what we could do, even though we ended up losing.”
Week 2 provided a better outcome for AHS. The Redbirds battled through multiple weather delays at Quincy to pull out a 41-37 victory to get their first win of the season.
Alton also had wins over Collinsville, Belleville East, O’Fallon and Granite City on the season. The Redbirds drew a first-round Class 7A playoff game at Rolling Meadows, but fell 29-27 to finish the season 5-5.
They didn’t go down without a fight, though. Junior quarterback Andrew Jones connected with Sanders with 24.3 seconds remaining in the contest to cut the Rolling Meadows lead to 29-27. Unfortunately, the 2-point conversion failed, as did the onside kick attempt.
Nonetheless, it was a highlight on the season for Walker and Sanders.
“We both had good games,” Sanders said. “In the first half (Walker) had scored two touchdowns and I knew he was going to do his part. I just had to step up and get a feel for the game and in the second half it just came around for me.”
Sanders said the TD catch from Jones in the waning seconds was his personal season highlight.
Walker admitted he owes a lot of his versatility in ‘18 to the seniors from ‘17 — most notably Kevin Caldwell Jr.
“Papi (Caldwell), I looked up to him as a wide receiver because he taught me everything I needed to know,” Walker said. “Not having him was rough at the beginning, but as I started getting going I was glad he helped me a lot so I could be better.”
For Sanders and Walker, their legacy is all about the impression they leave on Alton — and it’s one of hard work.
“I would like to leave my work ethic,” Sanders said. “Everyone has been watching me and we talk about it a lot at practice. When we’re in the weight room, I just worked the hardest.”
“I feel we told the underclassmen they need to keep working hard and that nothing is going to be given,” Walker added. “When they get down just push through it.”
Sanders and Walker would like to play in college, too, and together if possible. A list of suitors for them includes Missouri Baptist, Millikin, Northwest Missouri, and McKendree.