Belleville News-Democrat (Sunday) - - Front Page - BY TODD ESCHMAN

Belleville West’s Do­minic Lovett caught five touch­down passes to lead the Ma­roons over the East Lancers and into the play­offs.


Spirit the City was the brain­child of Dis­trict 201 ad­min­is­tra­tion as a way to unite the stu­dents of its sis­ter high schools un­der the same Belleville ban­ner.

March­ing bands and foot­ball play­ers from Belleville East and West took part in the hoopla, which started in the predawn hours Fri­day with a com­bined pep rally at the city’s land­mark foun­tain square, then re­con­vened 14 hours later for a ri­valry game be­tween the Lancers and the home Ma­roons.

But civic pride only goes so far for West’s Do­minic Lovett. The sopho­more wide re­ceiver con­nected five times with quar­ter­back Jack McCloskey, each re­cep­tion re­sult­ing in a touch­down, in a 45-3 vic­tory over the cross-town Lancers.

The win capped a 7-2 reg­u­lar sea­son for Belleville West, which as of Fri­day held a slim chance of bring­ing a first-round play­off game home to Bob Goalby Field.

“We re­ally wanted this win to keep the pos­i­tive mo­men­tum go­ing,” said Lovett, whose 23 touch­down re­cep­tions this sea­son es­tab­lished a new ca­reer record at West. “At the same time, we wanted to get the reg­u­lar sea­son over with. We’re re­ally look­ing for­ward to the play­offs.”

It was a long day that brought about the end of a long sea­son for the 1-8 Lancers, who have missed out on the IHSA play­offs for the third year in a row.

No­table among East’s grad­u­at­ing se­niors is Kienen Waller, the un­der­sized, three-year start­ing quar­ter­back who last sea­son earned sec­ond-team all-area honors through a vote of the re­gion’s coaches.

Waller capped his ca­reer with 32 yards rush­ing to go with 58 yards in the air. His fi­nal pass was in­ter­cepted late in the sec­ond quar­ter to set up the fourth of Lovett’s touch­downs, a 27 yarder that made the score 38-3 less than two min­utes ahead of half­time.

“I think some­times the word ‘war­rior’ is mis­used or overused, but it cer­tainly ap­plies to Kienen,” said East coach Kris Ste-

phens. “That kid has been through so much with this pro­gram over the last three years but al­ways came back when it might have been eas­ier to quit. I told him and the other se­niors that what their per­se­ver­ance is not about the last four years, it’s about the next 40. What they have learned with stay with them.”

Stephens also loses de­fen­sive line­man Rak­weon Ram­sey, the Lancers’ lead­ing tack­ler, as well as line­men Isa­iah Flager-Hearan, Josh Sut­tles and Mike Muham­mad, and lineback­ers Xavier Med­ina, Nick Cole.

Belleville West won its first five games of the sea­son and be­came play­off el­i­gi­ble for the sev­enth year in a row with a 52-7 de­mo­li­tion of Gran­ite

City, Sept. 21, and clinched its spot by putting 64 points on Collinsville on Oct. 5

Ma­roons head coach Cameron Pet­tus said, de­spite the teams’ records, there was no guar­an­teed against the Lancers Fri­day, es­pe­cially con­sid­er­ing the day-long fes­tiv­i­ties that spanned 14 hours prior to kick­off.

“There was a great at­mos­phere this morn­ing and it was as lot of fun for ev­ery­body,” Pet­tus said. “But it was a long day. As a coach, you worry about how kids will re­spond.”

McCloskey re­sponded by find­ing Lovett for a 32-yard touch­down pass less than two min­utes into the game. East an­swered with a 28 yard field goal by Alex Maxim, but never got any closer.

Lovett had scor­ing catches of 32, 13, 57, 27 and 36 yards. McCloskey fin­ished the game 14 of 24 pass­ing for 281 yards, 5 touch­downs and an in­ter­cep­tion.

The Ma­roons’ only other touch­down was on a 47-yard, high­light-reel run by se­nior Clarence Davis, who broke mul­ti­ple tack­les while tight-rop­ing the side­line.

“I can’t wait to see it on film be­cause I hon­estly can’t be­lieve he scored,” Pet­tus said. “It was as good a run as I’ve seen. Watch­ing it made me into a fan for a lit­tle while.”

Davis led the Ma­roons with 53 rush­ing yards on just four car­ries. Se­nior re­ceiver Will Lanxon had four catches for 87 yards and ju­nior kicker Lo­gan Seib­ert’s six ex­tra points es­tab­lished a sea­son record at West. The record was pre­vi­ously held by his brother, Austin Seib­ert, a se­nior kicker at the Univer­sity of Ok­la­homa.


Belleville West’s DJ John­son takes flight dur­ing Fri­day’s home game against Belleville East. West won 45-3 and capped a 7-2 reg­u­lar sea­son.


Belleville East quar­ter­back Kienen Waller runs the ball dur­ing Fri­day’s game at Belleville West High School. Waller capped his high school ca­reer after start­ing un­der cen­ter three sea­sons for the Lancers.

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