BLUE RIDGE — The Blue Ridge Tigers and Collinsville Pirates battled it out Friday evening in the District 6-2A (I) opener and a second-half boost pushed the Pirates to a 14-7 victory.
Garrett Vannoy scored both touchdowns and finished with 66 yards on 10 carries for Collinsville (4-1, 1-0), including the deciding score with 11:14 left in the game.
The Pirates managed to make that stand up against Blue Ridge (1-4, 0-1).
“They (Collinsville) are big. They probably outweigh us at every position. They’ve got a little more experience,” Blue Ridge head coach Kevin Wiggins said. “We’re starting six sophomores on each side of the ball, so it’s really key for us to keep the battles up front and try to get off the field on third down.”
Blue Ridge had the upper hand in the first half. Sophomore running back Garrett Mathers got the Tigers on the board with 4:13 left in the first quarter after a six-yard rush into the end zone.
Mathers had 21 carries for 102 yards to lead Blue Ridge.
The Tigers weren’t able to score again but held tightly on Collinsville to ensure Blue Ridge would go into half-time with the lead.
“I really just went in there and challenged them to come out in the second half and kind of right our wrongs,” Collinsville head coach Dale West said. “All the credit to Blue Ridge — they had their kids prepared and ready to go. We just challenged the kids at half-time to come out and do things right and play our game.”
Vannoy scored on an 11-yard touchdown run with 9:12 left in the third to tie the game at seven.
The Pirates struck again in the fourth quarter with Vannoy’s 35-yard TD run less than a minute into the frame.
Gustavo Romo totaled 68 yards on 13 carries and Taylor Bennett chipped in 13 carries for 62 yards for Collinsville.
Blue Ridge travels to Tom Bean on Friday while Collinsville hosts Celeste, which had the bye to open district play.