By MARK JURGENA
You’ve got to run to win.
With apologies to Van Halen and their hit song “Why Can’t This Be Love,” the Collinsville football team has certainly taken this up as their mantra as their offense continues to dominate games on the ground while their defense reluctantly gives up yardage.
Mt. Zion became the latest victim of the purple and white defense as they could only manage -17 yards rushing against the Kahoks. CHS came up with a solid 34-7 win at the perennial playoff contender on October 7th.
“It felt good, the kids came to play on Friday night,” said CHS coach Colton Rhodes. “Offense did their job scoring and running the ball pretty well and the defense did a great job shutting down all their athletes and giving up only one touchdown. I was really happy with the kids after a tough road trip.”
The CHS offense amassed 305 yards on the ground and 429 total against the Braves. That brings their rushing total to 954 yards in the past three games while giving up only 47 rushing yards in that same span.
Running back Jerry Richardson continued to chew up yardage with his third straight game of over 100 yards rushing. The senior ran for 210 yards on 17 attempts and scored two TDs.
He also caught six passes for 92 yards and, just for good measure, returned three punts for an average of 26 yards per punt.
On the initial drive of the game, it was Richardson’s 22-yard run that served as the longest of the series and moved CHS into the red zone for the first time of the evening.
After a holding call, Richardson capped the drive with a 16-yard run to put CHS up 7-0 after Andrew Chi’s extra point.
The purple defense did allow a first down, but then stopped the Braves and forced a punt. Richardson again helped the cause with a 43-yard punt return. Collinsville moved the ball down the field, but an incomplete pass on 4th down killed the drive and gave MTZ the ball deep in their own territory.
However, their possession didn’t last long as Kolby Anderson intercepted a pass to give the Kahoks the ball at the 50, however, the offense stalled out again and they turned the ball over on downs.
MTZ was unable to move the ball on CHS and ended up punting to the Kahoks. The Braves flipped the field on the Kahoks, but the local squad would have none of it as they went on a 93-yard TD drive.
The series was highlighted by a 52-yard, tackle-breaking run from Richardson. Not only did he bust through the MTZ defense he got some help from his wideouts blocking downfield.
“We got some great blocking from our wideouts this week,” said Rhodes. “They were all about blocking downfield so that was good to see.”
Richardson had the honor of finishing the drive with a 10-yard run and the Chi extra point made it 14-0 CHS.
Surprisingly, MTZ sustained a drive down to the CHS 22-yard line before turning the ball over on downs.
Two plays later, Richardson was at it again this time with a 77-yard run down to the one-yard line.
“He looked a little slow on his run, I think he was gassed,” said Rhodes. “He had to break a couple of tackles on the sideline and it was just enough for them to chase him down from the backside. He ended up making a couple of guys miss, then he cut back into the middle of the field before somebody was able to drag him down.”
From there Kahok QB Ethan Bagwell plunged over the goal line on a QB sneak. The Chi extra point made it 21-0.
Mt. Zion was able to pass their way down the field and ended up scoring on a 35-yard TD pass to make it 21-7. Neither team could do much with their final possession of the first half and CHS went into the half with a two-TD lead.
Last week the Kahok defense came out blazing in the 2nd half with an early sack, this week a big 3rd down sack by Thomas Kohler and Max Link forced the Braves to punt on their initial possession of the half.
“They made a big play,” said Rhodes. “We were in the quarterback’s face all night. We didn’t sack him much but we got a lot of pressure.”
After moving the ball, the CHS offense stalled out on downs giving MTZ the ball back at their own 37 however that defense forced yet another three-and-out and a Braves punt.
Collinsville would end up scoring on a fumble recovery in the end zone by Kahok right tackle Javier Oseguera. Prior to that, Richardson had gained 23 yards in two carries and Darren Pennell had taken a jet sweep pass 16 yards down to the one.
The extra point was blocked and it was 27-7 for the locals.
Collinsville’s final TD came in the 4th quarter on a one-yard run by Bagwell. That capped a 72-yard drive that was highlighted by Richardson. He took a swing pass 62 yards to set up the score. Chi nailed the point after for the final margin of victory.
The win raised Collinsville’s mark to 6-1 for the season.
In addition to Richardson’s outstanding night, Bagwell was 8-for-16 for 124 yards passing and carried the ball 13 times for 42 yards.
Mondray Crume had a big night on defense with seven solo tackles and seven assists while Rollin Armes had four solos and five assists. Two of those tackles were for a loss.
Isaiah Gordon had five solos and three assists while Eric Stuber had a solo and six assists.
CHS will host Champaign (Centennial) tomorrow night at Kahok Stadium. The Chargers enter the contest with a 7-0 mark for the season after scoring 21 unanswered points in the 2nd half to beat Peoria (Notre Dame) 28-20 last Friday.