By Anthony Jones
After nearly 500 days since either team played in a game, Triad and Collinsville football finally returned to action this past Friday. The teams played at Triad, marking their first football contest on their new turf field.
The game was also the first game in the pool play portion of the Mississippi Valley Bowl Series being held. Schools were split into either Pool A or B, where they will play 3 teams before beginning bracketed play. Triad and Collinsville are both in Pool A, alongside Mascoutah and Highland.
The season was officially underway for both teams as Triad’s Jake Ellis booted the opening kickoff to Jerry Richardson, who returned the ball to the Kahok’s own 26 yard line. Collinsville started off with five running plays, but a third down and long made them switch things up as Kolby Anderson dropped back to pass. The pass was nearly intercepted by Triad’s Josh Edison, but fell incomplete resulting in fourth down.
The Knight’s offense started with great field position, as the Kahoks shanked a punt that went out of bounds at their own 43 yard line. They failed to take advantage of this however and were forced to punt the ball back to the visitors. The Kahoks would punt back shortly after, putting Triad at their own 27 yard line.
This drive started off like most of the others in the game, with not much movement of the ball. But on a third down and long, Triad’s Drew Straub dropped back and launched a deep pass to Josh Edison for 38 yards. Triad ran out the first quarter during that drive, but had to punt yet again.
Starting at their own two yard line, the Kahoks had a long field ahead of them on the ensuing drive. Collinsville put together a solid drive, advancing out to their own 40 yard line, before they were forced to boot the ball back to the Knights. Both teams would continue the stalemate of picking up a few first downs then punting until they ended the first half knotted up at 0-0.
Both teams were still looking for a spark coming out of half, and the Kahoks got one on the opening kickoff. They booted a squib kick, and managed to recover the ball at Triad’s 29 yard line. Feeling the pressure, Triad’s defense stepped up and forced a turnover on downs before allowing a first down to be gained.
The danger was not yet past for the Knights, as they fumbled away a snap on the second play of their ensuing drive, setting the Kahoks up at the Triad 26. Collinsville quickly picked up a first down and looked poised to score the first points of the game. Triad’s defense had other plans however and forced a fumble, which was recovered by Collin North at his team’s own 12 yard line.
The Triad offense picked up a couple yards when they returned to the field, but not much came of it and they were forced to punt. Collinsville began their third straight drive in Triad territory, this time at the Knight’s 49 yard line. Their drive was quickly stifled as well, leaving them to punt the ball back to the Knights.
Scoring finally opened up in the game on the Kahok’s punt, as Triad’s Sam Yager showed off his with a 91 yard return for a touchdown. Kicker Jake Ellis booted the extra point to put Triad up 7-0 late in the third quarter.
On the following kickoff, Collinsville showed off their speed as well. Trey Swygeart brought back the kick out to Collinsville’s own 39 yard line, setting up their offense with good field position again. The drive would push into Triad territory and run into the fourth quarter, but the team stalled and lined up to punt the ball back. There was a low snap on the punt however, forcing Collinsville to fall on the ball at their own 39 yard line.
Momentum kept swinging in Triad’s direction, as on the first play of their drive Straub kept the ball and picked up 27 yards before finally being taken down. A few plays later, he would score on another keeper from one yard out. An Ellis extra point extended the lead to 14-0.
The Kahoks pieced together a strong drive in response to Triad’s score. They completed their first pass of the game and moved the ball down to Triad’s 20 yard line. A penalty and tackle for loss by Triad’s Yager quickly pushed them back however and they would turn over the ball on downs yet again.
Straub got the ball moving with another big run on the first play of a drive, this time taking the ball from Triad’s 28 yard line to Collinsville’s 29. Triad kept methodically moving the ball down field, until they were faced with a fourth and goal from the four yard line. Straub scored his second touchdown of the night from there, allowing them to go up 21-0 with an Ellis PAT.
The Kahoks would receive the ball again, but with less than a minute to work with, they were unable to score. This gave Triad a final score of 21-0 in their first victory.
Through one week of action, Triad is now atop Pool A standings, while Collinsville is third out of four teams. Both teams have the tie-breaker over teams with the same record by virtue of having fewer points allowed so far.
Both teams will continue pool play action as Triad travels to Highland and Collinsville hosts Mascoutah. In their matchup last week, Mascoutah defeated Highland 35-20. Mascoutah also led 35-7 at halftime in that matchup.
Players to watch for Mascoutah are Chase Hanson (quarterback) and Aiden Jones (receiver/safety). Hanson made his debut at quarterback last week, where he scored five first half touchdowns with two rushing and three passing. Jones had a dominant game as well, with six catches, two were touchdowns, and 132 receiving yards. He also dominated on defense with seven tackles, an interception, and a forced fumble.
Two key players two watch for Highland are Brent Wuebbles (quarterback) and Sam Buck (offensive/defensive line). Wuebbles is a sophomore in his second year quarterbacking for the Bulldogs and he tallied over 250 yards last week, plus a touchdown. Buck is a formidable force on the line and has committed to Southern Illinois University to play collegiate football.