After a decade long dry spell of winning seasons, head coach Eric Dickerson has helped revitalized the Alton Redbirds in just two years. Two straight 5-4 regular seasons led to two consecutive playoff appearances, including a 32-12 win over Lincoln Park in 2017 to notch their second-ever postseason victory in school history. Members of the vaunted Southwestern Conference, the Redbirds under Dickerson have restored pride into the program and have what it takes to make it back into the Class 7A IHSA playoffs.
Andrew Jones (1,969 yards, 17 TDs, 12 INTs)
Tim Johnson (970 yards, 145 carries, 6 TDs)
Lonnie Tate (17 catches, 190 yards, 4 TDs)
Moory Woods (9 catches, 237 yards, 2 TD's)
Jones is a three-year starter at quarterback and possesses dual-threat capabilities. His top two receivers graduated, but still has Tate, Woods, and junior transfer Javion Morgan (536 yards, 29 catches, 4 TDs) from Alton Marquette. Johnson returns at running back after a decent sophomore campaign and expect his stats to increase. Offensively, the Redbirds should continue to put up similar numbers as they have in the past two seasons if not better. There are some question marks on the defensive side after losing more than half of their starters to graduation. However, their line has the potential to be capable enough to plug gaps and help the defense be sustainable. This team overall is fast but has some blips in the front seven that if they don't fix will get exposed a lot. But when they play fundamentally sound the Redbirds will play right with the talented and technically sound teams like Belleville West, Edwardsville and Rolling Meadows from last year.
Diagnosis: If Alton stays healthy and keeps up their production, they'll get another playoff appearance and quite possibly finish better than 5-4. For years East St. Louis and Edwardsville have rotated exclusively between first and second place in the SWC and most likely will in 2019. So, there's a good chance Alton can finish third, which would be their best result since grabbing second in 2006.