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Triad football faces Mascoutah in 'playoff atmosphere' game

"So really every week is a playoff game for us. And I know that’s a cliché to say, but it’s really true for us now"
Credit: KSDK

TROY, Ill. — After months of questioning whether or not there would be any season at all, high school football teams across the Metro East have been able to take the field each Friday night, even if it’s different than how they pictured.

Most teams across Illinois will play six regular season games in the 2021 abbreviated spring season: five scheduled games and a sixth round-robin style game within conference play. 

Triad and Mascoutah will take the field for battle in week three of play, without having faced any COVID-19-related issues to halt the season to this point.

The Mascoutah Indians (2-0) are coming off a 26-12 win over Collinsville on March 26, and they have experienced players to thank for part of the success so far.

Mascoutah senior quarterback Chase Hanson leads the team with four touchdowns and 153 rushing yards in 2021.

Indians senior wide receiver Aidan Jones is a close follow in points with three touchdowns and 210 receiving yards through two games.

Mascoutah head coach Josh Lee said he’s grateful the team had the chance to play for multiple reasons. The first being a chance for seniors to take the field one last time, and the second being the opportunity it creates for underclassmen players to get experience now for their personal development.

“I was concerned about development for our younger kids for sure,” Lee said. “They missed out on a whole year of weight room time, and I worried a lot about having that big group last year because we did not play that many sophomores. We had one sophomore who played varsity for us. So, if we wouldn’t have played this year, going into next year, we would’ve had one guy that’s played varsity football on our entire team, which would’ve been an epic disaster. So, I’m very grateful we’re playing.

Lee said they have one goal each night they take the field.

“Now I tell them, ‘Every game, every play, could literally be your last,’” Lee said. “Like we have four games left on the schedule, but just ‘cause they’re on the schedule, we full well know we might not play all those. There’s been quite a few teams canceling games all over the place these last few weeks. So, it’s like, you have nothing to save up for. Just leave it all out there on the field every single time.”

Lee described the Triad Knights as a thorn in their side, and a team he considers to be one of the best in their conference.

Triad (2-0) is also undefeated heading into Friday’s matchup, following a 28-14 win over Highland.

Similar to Mascoutah, Knights’ senior quarterback Drew Staub also leads his team in scoring with four touchdowns and 189 rushing yards.

Senior fullback Sam Yager has also made a big impact for the team with his three touchdowns and 138 rushing yards through two games.

Triad head football coach Paul Bassler said he was thrilled that his nine seniors were able to take the field at least one last time to cap off their high school careers.

Although the two teams will play with different game plans, they share one mentality: give it all you got.

“I think this group of seniors are real hungry to get back at it,” Bassler said. “Unfortunately we’re not going to have a playoff opportunity or anything, so really every week is a playoff game for us. And I know that’s a cliché to say, but it’s really true for us now.”

Friday night’s kickoff between the Knights and Indians is at Triad High School at 7 p.m.