by Mark Jurgena
COLLINSVILLE — Once again the rising football program at Collinsville High School can claim a spot on the Illinois High School Football Coaches Association Class 7A all-state team.
Senior quarterback/defensive back Darren Pennell moved from wide receiver to quarterback in the offseason and had a stellar season again on both sides of the ball.
He led the 6-5 Kahoks in passing, rushing and was fifth on the team in tackles.
“Darren is an incredible athlete, football player, and person,” began CHS Colton Rhodes. “He went from being honorable mention all-state as a junior for WR/DB to getting the same recognition as a senior after a position change to quarterback. He had a phenomenal season for us at quarterback and safety. I am so proud of his selfless attitude to change positions, and then be so successful and lead us in another great season. I’m extremely thankful I got to coach Darren Pennell the past four seasons.”
Pennell was 156-for-267 for 2,158 yards, 20 TDs and nine interceptions. He rushed for 692 yards on 111 carries with nine TDs.
Just for good measure, he had 23 solo tackles and 28 assists for 51 total tackles. He compiled one tackle for loss and picked off one pass.
Pennell was also named to the Academic all-state team for Class 7A. Fellow Kahoks Isaiah Norton and Devin Habermehl were also selected for this honor.
”Academic all-state is a pretty incredible achievement for anyone,” said Rhodes. “It takes a lot of hard work to be able to maintain great grades and play a sport like football at a high level. The three of those guys work incredibly hard both on and off the field. I’m happy we can honor their hard work and effort.”