GRANITE CITY – A year ago, the Granite City Warriors celebrated a 41-27 victory over the Alton Redbirds in their homecoming game.
On Friday, the Warriors played another homecoming game against the Redbirds. But this time, Alton senior running back Darrell Smith made sure his team wasn't going to lose again.
Smith scored five touchdowns with 225 yards rushing to lift the Redbirds to a 56-14 win over the Warriors. He also helped Alton clinch its first winning season since '14.
The Redbirds improved to 5-3 overall and 4-2 in Southwestern Conference play. They are still in the hunt for their first state playoff berth since 2006.
Alton wraps up its regular season next Friday with a road game against East St. Louis.
The Warriors dropped to 2-6 overall and 0-6 in conference play. They lost their sixth straight game after starting their year with back-to-back wins over Jersey and Carbondale.
Granite City has allowed an average of 49 points in its conference games. It gave up a season-high 58 points to East St. Louis last week.
The Warriors wrap up their season next week with a home game against O'Fallon, a team they have not beaten since 2000. Seven Granite City seniors – Eugene Williba, Jordan Smith, Adam Marmion, Cordele Mackin, Nathan Hill, Darrion Harvey and Cody Kuenkler – will be playing their final game against the Panthers.
Smith now has 16 touchdowns on the season, 11 in the last three games, to lead the Redbirds. He went through a injury-riddled junior season last fall that included a leg injury he suffered against Granite City with nine minutes left in the fourth quarter.
On Friday, Smith scored a 49-yard run with 3:50 left in the first quarter to give the Redbirds a 7-0 lead. He also scored a 54-yard run with 3:04 to go in the second, a 52-yard run with just 13 seconds into the third, a 21-yard run with 6:18 remaining in the third and a six-yard run with five seconds into the fourth.
The 5-foot-11, 175 pound Smith also helped the Redbirds extend their winning streak to three games. Alton scored a combined 156 points in the three wins over Belleville East, O'Fallon and Granite City.
The Redbirds also got touchdowns from junior Terrance Walker and seniors Dyllon Proudie and Kevin Caldwell, Jr.
Walker received a 30-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Taylor Price with 7:27 left in the second that gave the Redbirds a 14-7 lead they would never relinquish the rest of the contest.
Caldwell received a 14-yard catch from sophomore QB Andrew Jones with 8:55 to go in the game to increase the Redbirds' lead to 48-14.
Proudie scored a 29-yard run and scored a two-point conversion with 6:59 remaining in the contest to boost the lead to 56-14.
After starting their season on Aug. 25 with a 47-6 loss to Highland, the Redbirds bounced back to beat Quincy 48-21 the next week to snap a 12-game losing streak, followed by a 70-19 win over Collinsville in their conference opener.
Alton lost back-to-back games to Belleville West and Edwardsville before coming back with a three-game winning streak.
The Redbirds finished with a total of 353 yards on offense against Granite City.
Junior Jerry Watson scored two touchdowns for the Warriors, giving him a total of a team-high 10 for the season. He scored an 80-yard touchdown run with 2:24 left in the first quarter that tied the game at 7-7. He scored his second TD with 8:25 left in the third.
Alton led 21-7 at halftime.