MT. VERNON — A topsy-turvy week of almosts and might-have beens in the South 7. Marion outran Mt. Vernon, Centralia pulled another almost-upset, and Cahokia humbled Carbondale. In the Black Diamond Conference, the contenders separated themselves as the conference split apart into haves and have-nots.
Here's the slate of games for this week:
Mt. Vernon (0-5, 0-2) at Carbondale (3-2, 1-1)
The Rams looked better again against Marion, but baby steps aren't going to do a whole lot where leaps and bounds are needed to produce wins. Look for the Rams to continue to put young players like Mario Thompson in the rotation and get some experience for next year, and actually move the ball a little bit. Carbondale still has a bitter taste in its mouth from last week's loss to Cahokia, and the Terriers will want to take that out on the hapless Rams, who can keep this game close, but not push over the edge.
Bottom line: Carbondle 32, Mt. Vernon 20
Marion (5-0, 2-0) at Belleville-Althoff (3-2, 2-0)
Great matchup between the two most dominant teams in the South 7. Marion can run the football with Shaquille Ivy or they can spread the field and throw it, while Althoff's running attack is big, mean, and fast. Between two very physical teams, Althoff is a bit bigger, and probably a little bit faster. But Marion's program is just a hair more solid, and they'll be up for this game.
Bottom line: Marion 28, Althoff 20
Centralia (2-3, 0-2) vs. Cahokia (2-3, 1-1)
Holy shootout, batman! The two leaders in scoring in the South 7 don't like defense much, but man can they score. Centralia's coming off two tough losses while Cahokia just punched Carbondale in the mouth last week for an unexpected win. Centralia's attack is just a tad better and they've got more late-game experience. Go with the Orphans to finally pull out a high-flying victory.
Bottom line: Centralia 49, Cahokia 35
and the Black Diamond Conference action:
Carmi (2-3) at Sesser (4-1)
Sesser throttled Christopher last week and are in the mix for a conference title. This week it's a confusing Carmi team. Which Bulldog squad will show up Friday? The group that almost defeated Johnston City 22-20 in week one, or the group that took a 36-0 beating at Chester the next week? Probably clsoer to the later as Sesser rolls again.
Bottom line: Sesser 32, Carmi 6
Eldorado (4-1) at Chester (4-1)
A contest between Black Diamond conteders, Expect Chester to roll on through. If not for a narrow loss to Johnston City last week, Chester would be the most dominant team in the conference. They've allowed multiple scores in just two games this season and shut out boyh Carmi and Christopher. A fearsome Yellow Jacket defense takes a few turnovers to win for Chester.
Bottom line: Chester 38, Eldorado 13
Christopher (0-5) at Vienna (1-4)
From a battle of contenders to a battle of the have-nots. Christopher's offense has managed to score some points the last two weeks, but Vienna is coming off a win. Expect the momentum to continue for Mike Rude's Eagles.
Bottom line: Vienna 26, Christopher 22
Elverado (0-5) at Hamilton County (2-3)
After a tough loss to Eldorado last week, the Foxes bounce back on cellar-dweller Elverado and build some momentum. They'll need it heading into next week's matchup with undefeated Johnston City.
Bottom line: Hamilton Co. 32, Elverado 6
Johnston City (5-0) at Fairfield (3-2)
After a tough win against Carmi, Fairfield gets the Indians. Johnston City has been winning games, but they're not dominating them. That streak of good fortune has to end sometime. Why not be the Mules — who take the Black Diamond title for most original mascot. They'll be stubborn Friday.
Bottom line: Fairfield 26, Johnston City 20