By Mark Jurgena
For the Times-Tribune
The Collinsville defense held firm for the greater part of three quarters during their Saturday morning opener at Cahokia. The Kahoks only trailed 6-0 late in the 3rd quarter. However the defense had seen the majority of the snaps during the game and eventually wore down against a fast, tough, Comanche squad. Cahokia won 26-0.
The game was moved to Saturday after being cancelled by Friday nights storms.
“Defensively I thought we were spectacular. I thought our effort was outstanding, we rallied to the football. At no point in time last year did we see a performance like we did today, 26-0 just doesn’t do it justice,” said Collinsville coach Mike Popovich.
The Kahoks limited Cahokia to an average of only 2.6 yards per carry on the ground in 40 attempts. Cahokia was able to throw for 201 yards. The Comanches were three of five on 4th down conversion attempts.
Offensively the Kahoks return many starters from 2018, however at key spots some issues related to inexperience plagued the team throughout the day.
“While we bring back starters what ended up happening was you have guys at spots who didn’t play football last year, or didn’t play varsity football, or had never played football in their life and when you do that you’re going to have some growing pains,” said Popovich.
Adding to the offensive woes CHS 3rd year starting quarterback Chris Chi went down in the 2nd quarter with a lower body injury and did not return.
“Losing Chris definitely took away a pretty significant portion of the playbook in the 2nd half,” Popovich said.
Sophomore QB Carey Martin came in for Chi. Jake Holten ran QB in the wildcat formation.
Collinsville began the game with a nine play drive that stalled out at the Cahokia one yard line. Chi had big completions and runs from Holten and Trayvion Swygeart to set up a goal to goal situation but the Kahoks could not punch it in against the staunch defense of Cahokia.
“They’re loaded up front. Their front seven on defense is impressive, I mean super impressive,” Popovich said.
The Kahoks had a chance late in the first half to tie the score at six when Cahokia muffed a punt and CHS recovered. However, Chi had just gotten hurt on 3rd and long and Collinsville’s emergency wildcat offense could not get anything going. They ended up punting.
Chi was five for ten passing for 98 yards before he exited the game. Martin contributed 30 yards through the air. Holten caught six balls for 88 yards.
Popovich praised the play of Holten on both offense and defense. He added five solo tackles and a tackle for a loss on defense.
Gabe Miller led the defensive charge with 10 solo tackles, an assist, two sacks, and two tackles for loss. Stephen Green added seven solo tackles and two assists.
Donte Williams added four tackles with four assists. He also recorded two tackles for loss. Chris Garcia-Cloud had four tackles and two assists.
Up Next: Collinsville faces Triad at home this Friday. In 2018, CHS used three 4th quarter touchdowns to pull away from Triad 46-27. Both Jayden Nabors and Kameron Sloan rushed for over 100 yards in that contest.