East St. Louis hammers Prairie Ridge to win its 10th state title

East St. Louis destroyed the Wolves 57-7 to win its tenth state championship. It was the largest margin of victory in a title game in state history.

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Prairie Ridge’s Tyler Vasey (7) looks on after taking second place in the IHSA Class 6A state football game against East St. Louis.

Prairie Ridge’s Tyler Vasey (7) looks on after taking second place in the IHSA Class 6A state football game against East St. Louis.

Kirsten Stickney/For the Sun-Times

CHAMPAIGN — Last year, a Fox Valley Conference team, Cary-Grove, upset heavily favored East St. Louis in the Class 6A state championship. It was one of the best high school football games in state history, and the memory of that added a little juice to this year’s matchup between Prairie Ridge and the Flyers.

East St. Louis didn’t let it happen again, destroying the Wolves 57-7 to win its 10th state championship. It was the largest margin of victory in a title game in state history.

“It felt amazing, just doing it for the city,” Flyers senior Miles McVay said. “We let them down last year.”

McVay is a 6-6, 330-pound senior committed to Alabama. He and 6-5, 300-pound Paris Patterson, an Arkansas recruit, have anchored East St. Louis’ offensive line for four years.

“We set this goal last year after losing the state championship, and the guys came out from January working their butts off,” Flyers coach Darren Sunkett said. “We had great leadership, and those guys knew what it took to get back here.”

Prairie Ridge (12-2) scored on a 14-yard run by quarterback Tyler Vasey on its first drive. The next two drives were stopped by a penalty and a costly sack. The Wolves never got it going again.

“Those mistakes can’t happen, especially with our offense,” Vasey said. “And with [East St. Louis] being so fast.”

Vasey had 25 carries for 126 yards and one touchdown.

“Talent-wise, we obviously met our match,” Wolves coach Chris Schremp said. “The coin toss was almost comical if you saw the size difference. You can’t match up with that talent.”

East St. Louis’ Dejerrian Miller (17) reacts after catching a pass against Prairie Ridge.

East St. Louis’ Dejerrian Miller (17) reacts after catching a pass against Prairie Ridge.

Kirsten Stickney/For the Sun-Times

TaRyan Martin had 17 carries for 175 yards and three touchdowns for the Flyers (12-2). Quarterback Robert “Pops” Battle was 10-for-12 passing for 207 yards and two touchdowns.

“We came out, and we weren’t tackling real well,” Schremp said. “When they have D-I talent up and down the lineup and right now we don’t even have a kid that is going to play in college, the matchup is tough.”

East St. Louis didn’t lose to a team in Illinois this season. Lemont gave the Flyers the best test, losing 32-29 in the semifinals.

“The tradition East St. Louis football has is a great feeling,” Sunkett said. “These guys are our first group since the eighties ato be at state three years in a row and if it wasn’t for COVID it would have been four.”

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