ALTON – A year ago, the Quincy Blue Devils did something no other football team had done in school history – qualify for the state playoffs for three straight years.
With seniors Devin Smith and Ben Schroeder and sophomore Jirehl Brock leading the way, the Blue Devils are setting their sights on going to the state playoffs for the fourth straight year.
“We’ll keep clicking as a team and we’ll keep having that fight and mentality that everyone needs,” Quincy senior offensive lineman Tyree Williams said.
Quincy spoiled the Alton Redbirds’ home opener on Friday after winning 35-21. The Blue Devils improved to 1-1.
Quincy started its season on Aug. 26 with a 35-6 loss to Edwardsville in a home game that took a day to complete. Lightning struck the Quincy area during the third quarter, forcing the game to resume the following day.
“The team that was on the field against Edwardsville, we didn’t recognize them pretty much,” Williams said. “We kept that in our minds. We cranked it up in practice and we just worked harder.”
On Friday, the Blue Devils beat the Redbirds for the sixth straight meeting. Alton has not beaten the Blue Devils since 2008.
“Quincy is a good team,” Alton coach Eric Dickerson said. “They’re very good in what they do. They fire off the ball, they’re quick and their defense is pretty aggressive.”
The Redbirds dropped to 0-2. They will start their Southwestern Conference season next week at East St. Louis. Alton’s next home game will be against Belleville East on Sept. 16.
Alton began its season last week with a 38-13 loss to Rock Island on the road.
“We’re not a bad team,” Dickerson said. “We’ve got some good players and we’ve got some good kids. They’re learning the game right now.”
Since Rick Little took over the Quincy team in 2007, the Blue Devils have qualified for the state playoffs five times. Last year, Quincy finished 6-4 after losing to Oak Forest in a first-round Class 6A state playoff game.
Quincy will play North Lawndale next Friday in Chicago, then plays five straight games against its Western Big Six Conference opponents and wraps up its regular season against Quincy Notre Dame on Oct. 21.
Williams said he hopes to end his high school football career with another trip to the state playoffs.
“It will mean the world to me because I’ve been playing varsity since I was a freshman,” the Quincy senior said.
Williams is part of an offensive line that includes seniors Payton Brunier, Cray Reagan, Jack Sassen and junior Owen Shelton. They helped the Blue Devils finish with 317 yards of offense against the Redbirds on Friday.
Brock ran for 82 yards on 12 carries for two touchdowns, Smith finished with 78 yards on 18 carries with two touchdowns, senior Cameron Woodard rushed for 49 yards on nine carries with a touchdown and Schroeder threw for 62 yards with a touchdown.
“It’s fun to block for them,” Williams said.
Darrell Smith rushed for 25 yards with a touchdown and quarterback Taylor Price threw for 155 yards with two touchdowns for Alton.
Brock scored both of his touchdowns in the first half. He gave the Blue Devils a 7-0 lead with 10:50 left in the period and broke a 7-7 tie with a 25-yard touchdown catch with 4:24 to go.
Quincy outscored Alton 21-0 in the third quarter. Deven Smith scored a five-yard TD run with 9:59 left, Woodard scored a nine-yard TD run with 4:58 remaining and Smith scored his second touchdown of the game – a three-yard run – with 4:42 to go.
The Redbirds scored a pair of touchdowns in the fourth quarter. Darrell Smith scored a 71-yard touchdown run with 4:17 left and Kiondray Samuelton caught a 42-yard touchdown pass from Price with 1:20 to go.
“We don’t quit,” Dickerson said. “No matter what the score is, we’re not going to quit. Our kids have to learn that it’s a four-quarter game and you have to fight for four quarters. No matter what happens, you can’t quit.”
Junior Johnathan Bumpers also scored a touchdown for the Redbirds. His 78-yard touchdown catch with 9:25 left in the second quarter tied the game at 7-7.