COLLINSVILLE — The Tom Bean Tomcats stayed hot with a win in their district opener, holding off the Collinsville Pirates for a 22-14 victory in 5-2A (I) action.
It was the third straight victory for Tom Bean (3-4, 1-0), which can clinch a playoff spot with a victory against Celeste on Friday. The Tomcats opened district play with a win for the fourth time in five years.
Collinsville (3-5, 0-2) lost its fourth straight contest going into its bye week before returning to action with a key game at Celeste on Nov. 1.
Kaleb Graham led the Tomcats with 24 carries for 91 yards, Lance Pauler hauled in five catches for 107 yards and a score, Zach Lusk finished with four catches for 79 yards and Ryan Weems was 11-of-18 passing for 214 yards and a TD, ran 19 times for 40 yards and a score and caught a touchdown pass for Tom Bean.
Nathen Bocanegra had four catches for 64 yards, Justin Hernandez chipped in five catches for 77 yards, Luis Hernandez ran nine times for 48 yards and Trey Shelby finished with 12 crries for 44 yards for Collinsville.
Tom Bean took the opening kickoff, controlling the clock and drove the ball to the 15-yard line where Lusk hit Weems on a halfback pass to open the scoring 6-0.
Collinsville took over only to have Lance Pauler intercept Luis Hernandez's pass. Tom Bean cashed in on the turnover with a drive to the 13-yard line where Weems connected with Pauler for the touchdown. Graham ran in the two-point conversion bring the lead 14-0 just 12 seconds into the second quarter.
The Tomcats added to the lead when Weems had a two-yard touchdown run with 5:10 remaining in the half. Graham again ran the two-point conversion and Tom Bean held a 22-0 advantage at half-time.
The third quarter was scoreless has the teams traded interceptions — Caleb Higgs and Pauler came up with them for Tom Bean while Brayden Ward had one for Collinsville.
Pauler's came when the Pirates had gotten inside the 15-yard line.
Collinsville used it passing game to get back in it in the fourth quarter. Hernandez completed passes to Shelby for 17 yards and 38 yards to Justin Hernandez to put them in scoring range. Justin Hernandez finished off the drive with a 6-yard touchdown catch to get on the board with 6:35 remaining in the game.
The Pirates recovered the onside kick and Luis Hernandez connected with Bocanega twice on the drive, first with a 30-yard throw and then from 12 yards out to make it a 22-14 margin after Shelby caught the two-point conversion with 6:21 left.
Tom Bean ended up giving the ball back on downs but came up with another interception, this time by Graham.
But the Tomcats were unable to run out the clock with another turnover on downs and the Pirates had a final chance to force overtime. Collinsville got to the 21-yard line and looked to have a scored but the catch in the catch in the end zone was wiped out by a penalty for a throw beyond the line of scrimmage.