LHS loses a heartbreaker to East St. Louis 42-21


Jackson Crispin

In the middle of the first quarter the LHS offense was driving until fourth down where they were forced to punt.

Jackson Crispin, Editor in Chief

After going 9-0 in the regular season the Chicago Sun-Times ranked the LHS football team as the 18th best team in the Chicago-land area. The team received the one seed in the 6A IHSA playoff bracket, matching them up against the 16th seed: Kennedy, in the first round.

In the first round match, Lemont played Kennedy high school. LHS was able to win the match 45-0, advancing them to the second round against Springfield high school.

The game against Springfield was LHS’s farthest road game so far this season, forcing them to take the trip close to three hours. The players were allowed to leave school at 1 p.m. to take the trip with the team. For making the long trip, Lemont did not waste their time beating Springfield 73-36. Senior running back Albert Kunickis won the Friday Night Drive player of the week with six total touchdowns. LHS moved on to the third round against East St. Louis.

To start the game, East St. Louis kicked off to LHS. The offense struggled to move the ball for LHS first drive, giving East St. Louis the ball on their own side of the field. East St. Louis came out strong with a first possession touchdown from wide receiver Jesse Watson, then the two point conversion giving them a 8-0 lead. 

With 40 seconds left in the first quarter, junior quarterback Payton Salomon was able to respond by finding senior running Sam Andreotti for a 34-yard receiving touchdown. This was the first touchdown scored against East St. Louis this season against Illinois teams. 

With only seven seconds left in the first quarter, East St. Louis receiver Luther Burden scored a 29-yard receiving touchdown to make it 14-7. This would be Burden’s first of three touchdowns of the day.

At the end of the first half East St. Louis led 20-7.

“The momentum changed after this first touchdown of the game,” senior lineman Warren Gelushia said.

East St. Louis scored again on their first drive of the second half from running back Marquise Palmer, which was set up by a 58-yard rush from running back TaRyan Martin ending at the nine yard line. East St. Louis took a 28-7 lead only three minutes into the second half. 

With 1:44 in the third quarter East St. Louis scored again on a 59-yard reception for Luther Burden, pushing the lead to 34-7.

After 26 unanswered points, Lemont made a few last pushes with a 63-yard touchdown from junior wide receiver Ryan Koehler, Albert Kunickis scored on a 57-yard rushing touchdown. 

The game score ended at 42-21 in East St. Louis’s favor.

The 21 points Lemont scored, was the most points East St. Louis let up all season against Illinois teams. 

“The game was close at first, we came out pretty strong,” Albert Kunickis said “Then the offense lacked and we could put points on the board, which frustrated the defense and they pulled away.”

Junior quarterback Payton Salomon completed 7-15 passes for 113 yards, two touchdowns.

Senior running back Albert Kunickis rushed for 153 yards on 22 carries with one touchdown. 

Junior wide receiver Ryan Koehler led the team in receiving yards with 64 yards, one touchdown.

East St. Louis wide receiver Luther Burden was too much for the defense, ending with seven catches for 181 yards, three touchdowns.

“I would say the season was a success,” Warren Gelushia added, “We had an undefeated record going into it, played some pretty good teams and still came out victorious in every match until the end.”

Ending the third quarter, East St. Louis led 34-7. With a frustrated defense, LHS was looking for a stop. (Jackson Crispin)