Edwardsville Football Loses Season Opener

First opening season loss since 2011

Sam Lance, Sports Editor

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Edwardsville varsity football faced a tough loss to Naperville North after leading by 42 points on Saturday.

Hopes were high to start the new football season. Junior Kendall Abdur-Rahman was set to make his first varsity start at quarterback.

“I was pretty excited and a little nervous as first, but I felt pretty confident since I started the previous year, though it was on the other side of the ball.” Abdur-Rahman said.

Edwardsville got off to a great start. After an interception by junior linebacker Ryan Stroehmer, Abdur-Rahman ran for a touchdown to jolt the scoring.

Another turnover by Naperville led to a quick 34 yard touchdown by junior running back Dionte Rodgers, who was returning from an amazing sophomore year.

With another rushing touchdown on the board by junior Antonio Thigpen, the Tigers had a comfortable lead of 21-0.

“I felt like our chances of winning were very high,” senior orange rush leader Caleb Blakemore said. “Our team was looking good and the student section was hyped.”

However, Naperville was on the verge with the ball inside the 20 yard line, but the Tiger defense forced a turnover on downs to get back the ball deep in their own territory. But no distance is too far for Abdur-Rahman.

“We were running the speed option to the left and the defense overflowed and overplayed the play, so I cut back across the field and only had one man to beat…” Abdur-Rahman said about his 80 yard touchdown run that expanded the lead to 21.

After the play, Abdur-Rahman was on the ground in the back of the end zone and the crowd grew quiet.

“Seeing Kendall go down obviously didn’t bring about a good feeling because he was having such a good game,” junior fan Patrick Driscoll said. “But I trusted in our depth at the position…”

After a few more scores by both sides the Tigers went into the locker room with a 42-14 lead. Many fans left the complex to go on with their days expecting later news of a victory.

“I felt like we had a high probability of winning,” said Driscoll, who left at halftime. “The team looked great both on offense and defense”

Little did he know what would ensue.

The Tigers started off the second half firm with a two yard touchdown run by Thigpen. However, Naperville was about to mount their comeback.

On the following kickoff Naperville returned the kick all the way to the end zone to trim the lead to 28 points. They followed with three other touchdowns driving right through the tiger defense making it 49-40 early in the fourth quarter.

“I was a little nervous because we we’re up 42-0, and when they started to come back I just felt like we had to come together as one and play as a team,” Rodgers said.

Nevertheless, Edwardsville was not backing down. They drove the ball down inside the 10, but an unnecessary roughness penalty forced a punt that was returned 81 yards for a touchdown making it 49-47.

With under a minute left, Naperville finished their improbable comeback by running it into the end zone, composing the final score of 53-49.

“We just have to learn from (the loss),” Abdur-Rahman said. “We obviously saw what could happen if we don’t fix the little things and give a 100 percent effort every play.”

Next up for Edwardsville is a tough game against CBC under the Friday night lights.

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Edwardsville Football Loses Season Opener