The student news site of Edwardsville High School

Tiger Times

The student news site of Edwardsville High School

Tiger Times

The student news site of Edwardsville High School

Tiger Times

New Coach, Same Expectations

Zach Kennett
Wide receiver Joey Demare prepares to set a block in the first game versus O’Fallon on Sept 16, 2022

The Edwardsville Tigers football team finished strong last season, ending their year at seven and four and losing to the eventual 8A state champs, Loyola Academy in the second round of the 8A IHSA state playoffs.

This year was an off-season of change for the Tigers coaching staff though as longtime tigers head coach Matt Martin retired and his defensive coordinator, Kelsey Pickering, took over.

However, while the coaching staff endured significant changes, a lot of the players from last year’s team remain.

In the below article, I break down several of the key position battles for this year’s team and the expectations for this season.

Running Back– Most teams losing their top two running backs would be worried about who was going to step up, Coach Kelsey Pickering is not. “We’ve got a lot of guys who can run the ball for us,” Coach Pickering said in a recent interview.

Patrick Chism is a returning player who was a backup last year with a little bit of game experience, but Coach Pickering also mentioned Steven Moore, Gavyn Yates, and Dalton Brown as guys who could run the ball for the Tigers this year.

“We could have three or four guys getting reps for us at the start until one person starts to separate themselves as the lead guy at the position,” Coach Pickering said.

Wide Receiver– The first names that come to mind when I think of Edwardsville wide receivers are Kellen Brnfre and Joey Demare.

Nevertheless, Coach Pickering also voiced confidence about this group’s depth. “We have a very deep room of wide receivers,” he said. Juniors Gavin Potthast and Clayton Lakatos and Seniors Michael Hedge and Zach Williams were all players that Coach Pickering mentioned by name as players at the position to look out for.

Offensive Line- In a recent Edwardsville Intelligencer article, the projected opening day starting offensive line for the tigers were seniors Emilio Gomez-Garcia, Brett Moss, Quinton Kolnsberg, Antonio Box and Junior Hayden Volz.

Four seniors and one junior on the offensive line is experience that is hard to come by, but Coach Pickering assured that other players would still get opportunities to prove themselves. “If were at our best at week one, then that doesn’t head-to-head us in the playoffs, so we’re still going to give our guys opportunities to go head-to-head with the starters and prove that they should be starters,” Coach Pickering said.

Kicker– In years past the kicker position has felt like somewhat of an afterthought as former senior Tyler Dacus was always the man when it came to it. Now, Dacus is gone, and it’s time to find a replacement.

Seniors Alex Reed and Nathan Loftus are the two duking it out currently and Coach Pickering mentioned there is no leader right now to take the spot.

“They both have strengths,” Coach Pickering said. “Nate has been in the building for a while now, while Alex is brand new.”

Expectations- While it may seem like certain positions for the Tigers are questionable this year, there are many strengths for this team.

Having a state playoff experienced quarterback in senior Jake Curry is a great start.

Not to mention, a leader on the defensive end in senior Dalton Brown, who is now entering his fourth season on the varsity roster and his third season as a varsity starter.

Finally, you’ve got, maybe the most talented player on the roster in junior Iose Epenesa who is also entering his third season as a varsity starter.

Behind these three guys and many others like Jaiden Vonner, Brnfre, and Kolnsberg, the sky is the limit, and the expectation is a state championship.

“They’re focused on the road to the playoffs and getting to a trophy,” Athletic Director Amy Boscolo said about the team.

The students are also excited about the team this year.

“The games have always been fun in the past, but I think they’re going to be really good this year, so I think they’ll be even more fun this year,” said Junior Dean Schlarman.

A new coaching staff hungry to win, tons of talented players, and a staff and school ready to support all seems like a recipe for success for the Tigers to win this year.

Find out if this season is worth the hype this Friday at Tiger stadium at 8 p.m.

About the Contributors
Zach Cohn
Zach Cohn, Staff Writer
Zach is a junior and second year journalism student. He has been a member of the Edwardsville Hockey team for 4 years and is also a member of the EHS broadcasting club where he broadcasts EHS football, basketball and baseball games.
Zach Kennett
Zach Kennett, Sports Editor
Zach Kennett is a first-time journalism student and first-time member of the Claw. He currently serves as the co-editor-in-chief of The Tiger, which is the school’s yearbook. He formerly served as the managing editor. He has also won two sectional titles in scholastic journalism, with one being in news writing and the other being in sports writing. Zach enjoys spending his (dwindling) free time with his dogs, playing video games, cooking or driving his truck, Hank. Being a member of the Claw is important to him in that he was previously mentored by former Claw members and looks forward to leaving his mark on the publication.