Road to Class 7A title often goes through East St LouisOswego's #59 Mickey Stewart and #44 Chad Burdo bring down vs Thornton #4 Jamel Towns Held at home on Saturday, October 29, 2011. | Larry Kane~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 3, 2011 7:13PM
Here they come again.
It seems that in the last decade, any team in The Beacon-News coverage area that aspires to win a state championship in Class 7A has to go through the East St. Louis Flyers.
East St. Louis beat Geneva in the title game in 2008, and ended the Vikings and Batavia Bulldogs’ seasons in 2007.
But, in 2002 and 2003, it was Oswego coming out on top in a head-to-head matchup and winning a state championship in ’03.
We know the folks in Oswego consider this a rivalry based off those two seasons, as even today’s players remember those games from eight and nine years ago.
In 2003, the Panthers’ 33-20 quarterfinal victory over the Flyers put everyone on notice they could indeed win a championship.
The Flyers are a program that elects to play up in class and has won seven state championships to go with three runner-ups. It’s a program with an unbelievable 74-24 record in the playoffs since 1974.
No matter if they’re young or a veteran group — the Flyers are the measuring stick.
And for teams up here, they’re often a roadblock to a championship.
Having been at the 2008 championship game, East St. Louis was the only team in the state could have beaten that Vikings’ squad. Fans in Geneva might say the same thing about their ’07 team.
Now, should the Panthers beat this version of the Flyers, they would meet either Lincoln-Way East and Wheaton Warrenville South in the quarters, so it’s impossible to say a victory guarantees a berth in a state championship game.
But, ESL remains the top of the bar, and a victory would give fans in Oswego the feeling they could take down anyone else in the bracket.
If Kaneland and Aurora Christian can win a couple more playoff games, several players have chances to write their names into the IHSA record book.
Eagles QB Anthony Maddie became just the 14th passer in state history to throw 40 touchdowns in a single season last week, tying him for 13th all-time. It is conceivable he can climb up to fourth, where Tuscola’s Dusty Burk sits with 48.
Aurora Christian receiver Cory Windle enters this week with 16 TD catches, and with two more he can crack the top 18 in single-season history with 18. Four players are tied with 19 touchdown catches. Maine South’s Mike Labus is 13th all-time with 20 in a single year. Windle can also move into the top 20 in single-season receiving yards if he brings in another 243, which would tie him with Lemont’s Jason Wilebski.
In Maple Park, sophomore QB Drew David has 34 touchdown passes and can break into the top 20 for single-season TD passes with three more. Senior receiver Quinn Buschbacher enters this week with 13 TD catches and needs to haul in five more to join a list of seven others tied for 18th.