Metamora and Springfield Sacred Heart Griffin have dominated the state in Class 5A football for several years now. They won't be falling back to the pack, so Antwyne Golliday's Cahokia Comanches must rise up and knock them off.
"We're trying to get things done," Golliday explains. "There are a lot of good teams out there, and we're trying to play them to see what they're doing and what level they're at. But we're doing pretty good here.
"We were 11-2. I lost to both of them. I lost to Sacred Heart week 9. They were last year's state champs. And I lost to Metamora in the semifinals."
Cahokia was expecting great things from senior quarterback Darien (Doc) Donald this past season, but he suffered an ACL knee injury and missed the football season. A state champion 400 meter runner, Donald was given a full scholarship to Indiana State despite no senior game time. Fortunately, Golliday says the Comanches had someone who could fill in for Donald.
"I had a good situation because his backup quarterback Patrick Ivy was 6'-3", 185. I moved him from wide receiver to quarterback, and he threw for 2700 yards and 32 touchdowns. He had 800 yards rushing and another 9 touchdowns."
Golliday, who's also the school's track coach, offers great praise for Ivy as a quarterback.
"Great decision-making. He has a bullet for an arm. He also runs the 400 and does a little triple jumping. He's just a tremendous athlete. He even catches punts for us. His best position is wherever you put him. He'll probably play quarterback at the next level, or he could move back to wide receiver. It's just a matter of what school he picks and what they need."
As good a college prospect as Ivy is, Jimmie Hunt may be even better.
"Jimmie Hunt is a beast. He's a man among boys. He's just a super athlete. He's 6'-0", 185, but he's built like something out of a magazine. He's already been offered a scholarship from Kansas State and Missouri. He's a defensive back.
"He's been all-conference since his sophomore year as a wide receiver and defensive back. He's just something else. He broke our passing records with 32 catches for 900 yards this year with 18 touchdowns. And the first seven games, we pulled him early to let the other kids play."
Donald Collier is also drawing major interest from colleges.
"Everybody is looking at Donald Collier as a db. He's about 5'-9" or 5'-10" and 175 pounds. He's our all-time leader in interceptions right now. And he's also a wide receiver. He caught 30 passes for 800 and some yards. Most colleges are looking for big wide receivers, so he'll probably play defensive back at the next level."
A number of schools have been in to check out these three supers, including Illinois.
"Reggie Mitchell has been in here a lot, and he's looking at those three guys."
Mitchell is no stranger to Cahokia, having recruited tight end London Davis to Illinois last year. Golliday sees and talks with Davis frequently.
"I talked to London two days ago. He's hitting the weights, and he says he has something to prove. His offensive coordinator just took a head job, so there's a new guy there. He's trying to get it done.
"Whenever he comes home, he's always in the weight room. Give him a ball, and he's catching passes. He's still part of our program."