After a rainy first week of high school football, the forecast is brighter for many local teams in Week 2. Here's a look at the top five games to watch.
Kirkwood Pioneers at Francis Howell Vikings
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Records: Kirkwood 1-0; Howell 0-1
Last week: Kirkwood 61, Jefferson City 35; Fort Zumwalt North 38, Howell 24
Special Note: Fifth annual First Responders Night to honor first responders and military personnel in the community. Large crowd expected. Tickets go on sale at 4:30 p.m., gates open at 5 p.m. Shuttle will run from the commuter parking lot on Research Park Drive from 5:30-10 p.m. All fans are encouraged to wear red, white and blue.
On Kirkwood: Defeated Howell 37-28 last season at home. ...Record shattering start by junior quarterback Kannon Nesslage, who threw for 437 yards and nine touchdowns, both No. 1 in school history. Connected with eight receivers, not including Missouri recruit Jay Maclin, who was sidelined with an injury. Jaylen Phipps caught five passes for 160 yards. William Lee caught four passes for 101 and Jackson Fortner caught five passes for 99 yards. Junior running back Gerald Jackson rushed seven times for 96 yards. ...Linebacker Cameron Macon led the way with 10 tackles. The Pioneers made three sacks and Fortner came up with an interception.
On Howell: Power rushing attack was on display in downpour against Fort Zumwalt North. Senior running back Gideon Niboh rushed for 159 yards and a touchdown and junior quarterback Alex Pipes had 118 yards on the ground. Pipes completed 9 of 19 passes for 95 yards and an 18-yard touchdown to Reid Weber. ...Senior linebacker Charlton Watson Jr. had 12 tackles and Jack Larkin had 11 tackles.
CBC Cadets at Edwardsville Tigers
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Records: CBC 1-0; Edwardsville 1-0
Last week: CBC 65, O'Fallon 28; Edwardsville 7, McCluer North 6
On CBC: Has won previous two meetings with Edwardsville. Sophomore quarterback Ayden Robinson-Wayne made a smashing varsity debut as he completed 13 of 17 passes for 248 yards and three touchdowns, and rushed for 174 yards and two touchdowns. Junior receiver Chevalier Brenson caught six passes for 105 yards and two touchdowns. Junior receiver Zach Hahn caught four passes for 99 yards and a touchdown. ...Defense allowed 14 points in the first quarter, then allowed 14 the rest of the game. Senior Ray Lingard had 11 tackles and senior defensive end Michael West had 10 tackles.
On Edwardsville: Picked up weather-shortened victory over McCluer North after the game was called late in the first quarter. Junior running back Justin Johnson scored the tying touchdown with a 37-yard gallop with 2 minutes, 6 seconds to play in the first. Jonathan Rothert's extra-point kick was the difference. Tornado sirens sounded shortly after the Tigers kicked off following their touchdown.
Fort Zumwalt West Jaguars at Fort Zumwalt North Panthers
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Records: Fort Zumwalt West 1-0; Fort Zumwalt North 1-0
Rankings: Fort Zumwalt North No. 6 large school STLhighschoolsports.com, No. 1 Class 5 Missouri Media
Last week: Fort Zumwalt West 23, Eureka 22; Fort Zumwalt North 38, Francis Howell 24
On Fort Zumwalt West: Scored some payback with thrilling victory over Eureka when quarterback Jake Murphy hit Max Koviak for a 7-yard touchdown pass on fourth-and-goal with 6 seconds to play. It was the first win over Eureka in four tries and gave first-year coach Ben Pike a debut to remember. ...Murphy hit on 6 of 13 passes for 50 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Senior running back James Strauss rushed for 91 yards on 21 carries and scored a touchdown. ...Defense replaced all but two starters from last season and held its own. Sam Smith led the way with 11 tackles. Nick Matyiko had 10 tackles and Ulysses Ross had seven tackles.
On Fort Zumwalt North: Won its last five against crosstown rival Fort Zumwalt West. The two neighbors are not expected to play next season after complications arose in scheduling. ...Senior Cairo Payne made the move back to quarterback after playing slot receiver the last two years and appeared to not miss a beat. Behind the Panthers loaded offensive line, Payne powered his way to 145 yards on 20 carries. Completed 1 of 3 passes for 10 yards in slick conditions. Senior Izaiah Hartrup was a two-way force as he rushed for 101 yards and a touchdown and scored a 50-yard interception for a touchdown. ...Senior linebacker Max Martin had 13 tackles. Hartrup came up with a pair of interceptions and recovered a fumble. Panthers sacked Howell quarterback Alex Pipes twice.
Lutheran North Crusaders vs. Cardinal Ritter Lions
When, where: 5 p.m. Saturday at East St. Louis High
Records: Lutheran North 1-0; Ritter 1-0
Last week: Lutheran North 25, Trinity 6; Ritter 32, Nazareth Academy 21
On Lutheran North: Held talent-rich Trinity to just one score despite defense missing highly rated college linebacker prospect Antonio Doyle and junior defensive end Travion Ford. Has won five of previous six meetings with Ritter, including their last in 2016, a 66-0 victory in the second round of a Class 2 district tournament. Sophomore running back Ali Wells rushed 11 times for 158 yards and two touchdowns. Senior running back Jalen Head had 29 yards on 11 carries and scored once. Senior quarterback Jordan Smith completed 2 of 3 passes for five yards. ...Senior linebacker/defensive end Itayvion Brown was everywhere as he made 19 tackles and had one of the Crusaders' three sacks against Trinity. Three different players made an interception.
On Ritter: Traveled to Illinois Class 7A defending champion Nazareth Academy and stunned the host with a big-time performance by senior quarterback Mekhi Hagens, who completed 23 of 33 passes for 314 yards and four touchdowns. Sophomore receiver Luther Burden had seven receptions for 122 yards and three touchdowns. Keavion Long made 12 catches for 151 yards and a score. ...Defensive secondary feasted as it made four interceptions on Nazareth Academy's highly rated quarterback prospect J.J. McCarthy. The Michigan recruit threw three interceptions his entire sophomore season. Defense shut out Nazareth in the fourth quarter. Defensive lineman Anthony Baker tied for the team lead with eight tackles. ...Winner of this game has the leg up for home-field advantage in the Class 2 District 2 tournament.
Trinity Titans at East St. Louis Flyers
When: 8 p.m. Saturday
Records: Trinity 0-1; East St. Louis 1-0
Last week: Lutheran North 25, Trinity 6; East St. Louis 31, Batavia 17
On Trinity: Scored fewest points in a game since 2014. Struggled to find a consistent offensive attack outside of senior running back Reggie Love. Love rushed 18 times for 85 yards and was one tackle away from breaking free. Tried out three quarterbacks in junior Xavier Cunningham, freshman Chris Cotton and senior James Frenchie. Cunningham had the most success as he completed 4 of 20 passes for 85 yards and a 69-yard touchdown pass to Tam Williams. He was intercepted three times. Frenchie, who has verbally committed to Illinois, took several direct snaps in a Wildcat formation but was unable to break through Lutheran North's stout defense. ...Defense muzzled Lutheran North's rushing attack much of the night but gave up two big hitters that led to touchdowns. Jonathan Joshua made a team-high 10 tackles. Four players recovered a fumble.
On East St. Louis: Defeated Trinity 32-26 in triple overtime last season in only previous meeting. Opened up a 25-3 lead moments into the second quarter at Batavia, a Class 7A semifinalist last season. Senior running back DaMonta Witherspoon powered his way to 226 yards and scored once. Junior quarterback Tyler Macon completed 15 of 25 passes for 277 yards, three touchdowns and was intercepted twice. He connected with five receivers, including Keontez Lewis and Dominic Lovett, who each caught five passes for 89 and 90 yards, respectively. ...Defense held Batavia to 10 points in the first half and none in the third quarter. Darius Walker and Dylan Appleton each had 13 tackles. Jemarionte Burgess had 12 tackles. Senior Kendrick Scarborough had the only sack.