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Alton's Justus Pedrero runs the ball on Friday night in Cahokia, prior to the rain delay which pushed the finish of the game to Saturday.
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Josh Lovings hauls in a tough catch for the Redbirds during early first quarter action on Friday in Cahokia.
CAHOKIA – Lavonte Hobbs said the Alton Redbirds are delighted about their successful start.
“It’s a great feeling and we are doing better every week,” the Birds’ quarterback said Saturday at Brien Field.
Hobbs and his teammates were flying high after the Redbirds defeated host Cahokia, 21-12, in a nonconference football game. While the Comanches slid to 0-2, the Redbirds are 2-0 for the first time since 2006. They open Southwestern action at home Friday against 1-1 O’Fallon.
“This was a great team win,” Alton coach Jeff Alderman said after the Cahokia game. “We bent, but we didn’t break on defense. And we had a good effort from our special teams.
“It’s a credit to the kids that we are 2-0 because we haven’t been 2-0 for some time.”
The Redbirds needed more than 24 hours to beat the Comanches. They trailed 6-0 Friday night when the game was suspended because of lightning. When it resumed on Saturday night, it was Alton taking charge of things.
“We got things going and it was a total win,” Alderman said. “We executed things when we had to do it.”
And Cahokia coach Antwyne Golliday said the Comanches couldn’t match the Redbirds' resolve over the final three quarters.
“We weren’t the same team tonight (Saturday) that we were on Friday night,” he said. “We were a different team. So now we have to regroup and bounce back.”
Hobbs helped point the Redbirds in the right direction. He threw a 23-yard touchdown pass to Demonte Wigfall on a fourth down play early in the second quarter to put the Redbirds in front 7-6. Brad Leonard booted his first of three extra points at the 11-minute mark.
Teammate Kareem Hamilton, a transfer from Marquette Catholic, scored on a 4-yard run with 6:46 remaining in the first half to make it 14-6. Cahokia responded with Marquis Murray’s 33-yard TD run with 2:34 to play in trimming the AHS lead to 14-12. Murray had snared a 69-yard pass from Korrion Session for Cahokia’s first touchdown – on Friday night.
Yet the Redbirds’ defense stifled the Comanches in the second half. Ricco Gipson and Larry Calvin recovered fumbles to frustrate Cahokia. Gipson also supplied a couple of sacks and Simeon Brown had an interception in the first half. Josh Lovings' spurred the overall quality work in the secondary.
“I’m excited about the way we played on defense and with our special teams,” Alderman said. “The defense rallied when they had to do it.”
In the third quarter, Hobbs gave the Redbirds some breathing room when he connected with Lovings for a 21-yard touchdown. The Redbirds led by nine points with 7:08 remaining in the quarter. Neither team scored the rest of the way.
“We’re improving and it feels like the team is bonding together,” Hobbs said. “It feels good to be 2-0. We had to hit the pause button after Friday night when we were losing 6-0 and the game was suspended. But we came out strong tonight.”
Hamilton and Justus Pedrero kept gaining yards on the ground and Hobbs completed six passes for 82 yards to provide a balanced attack. The Redbirds maintained ball possession much of the time late in the game to deny Cahokia any significant comeback attempt.
The Comanches ran only four plays from scrimmage in the final six and a half minutes. Golliday rotated Session and Wayne Grant at quarterback, but the Comanches didn’t muster enough offense to threaten the Redbirds.
“I still don’t know about the (starting) quarterback,” Golliday said, looking ahead to next week.
The Redbirds know where they are going – into the thick of the SWC flight.
“It’ll be a challenge, but I’m excited about starting conference play,” Alderman said.
ALTON 21, CAHOKIA 12
Alton 0 14 7 0 – 21
Cahokia 6 6 0 0 – 12
C- Murray 69 pass from Session (Run failed), 4:39
A – Wigfall 23 pass from Hobbs (Leonard kick), 11:00
A – Hamilton 4 run (Leonard kick), 6:46
C – Murray 33 run (run failed), 2:34
A – Lovings 21 pass from Hobbs (Leonard kick), 7:08