SESSER — Tonight’s game of the week will showcase the Sesser-Valier-Waltonville Red Devils taking on the Chester Yellowjackets in a Black Diamond Conference matchup.
Chester (4-2) hopes to keep the win streak rolling after claiming three-straight victories. The Yellowjackets offense and defense helped lead them to a 59-0 rout over Vienna-Goreville last week.
It was Chester’s best offensive game of the season and first shutout of the year. The Yellowjackets shutout the Red Devils 37-0 last year and look to come out on top again tonight.
“SVW does a great job and has an offensive scheme that is difficult to stop,” said Yellowjackets coach Billy Belton. “They make you guard the whole field and play sideline to sideline.”
The injuries last season for Sesser-Valier-Waltonville piled up, but the team still managed a winning record of 6-3. The Red Devils hope to get back one of their two-way starters for tonight’s game.
“I remember them having a crazy amount of injuries last year and especially at the running back position,” said Belton. “They have two really good running backs this year and Tanner Eubanks is a player on the field that we need to be able to locate at all times.”
Sesser-Valier-Waltonville (4-2) is coming off a 26-22 loss against Johnston City last week. The Red Devils drove the length of the field to put themselves in a position to score the go-ahead touchdown, but the offensive drive came up dry.
“We’ve got to get healthy and start playing good football again,” said Red Devils coach John Shadowens. “We slept walked through the first half last Friday, and if that happens again this game will be over.”
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Sesser-Valier-Waltonville was able to defeat an Eldorado team earlier in the year that delivered Chester one of their two losses.
Chester’s other loss came against a Fairfield team that has also defeated Sesser-Valier-Waltonville this season.
The Yellowjackets have relied heavily on sophomores acclimating to the varsity level, and so far, it has worked out well for Coach Belton.
“I don’t consider us a young team, but we have some young kids in key spots,” said Belton. “The sophomores are getting used to varsity game speed. The last couple of games we have eliminated penalties and turnovers, which we weren’t doing earlier in the season.”
This week will be a big test for Sesser-Valier-Waltonville at home. With the season winding down, Shadowens is just focused on his team getting better.
“We just try to improve every week and the chips will fall where they may,” said Shadowens. “JC simply made more plays than we did last week. There’s been no talk of bouncing back, just getting better.”
Both teams enter this week still firmly in the Class 2A playoff picture. Sesser-Valier-Waltonville has won both of its home games this season, while Chester has split two games on the road.
The Red Devils hope to slow down the Yellowjackets offensive attack, and get the offense off to a quicker start after a slow first half in Johnston City last week.
“Their rushing attack is formidable,” said Shadowens. “They are diverse and throw a ton of formations at you.”