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Collinsville’s plan hands S&S its first defeat

Jason Della Rosa
Herald Democrat
Collinsville's Brayson Ward recovers an onside kick during the second half of a non-district victory against S&S at Collinsville.

COLLINSVILLE — The Pirates saw how potent S&S could be when it opened the season by scoring 70 points against districtmate Tom Bean. And so Collinsville made sure the Rams wouldn’t be in position to pile up touchdowns by making sure they rarely had the ball.

“We needed to slow it down a little bit. That was real big on our part,” Collinsville head coach Garrett Patterson said. “It’s been a lot of proving to themselves they’re worthy of competing at a high level. We executed very well.”

Thanks to three drives that combined to use up a quarter-and-a-half of the clock and an onside kick recovery, the Pirates limited S&S’ opportunities to just six possessions and stymied all but one of them as Collinsville defeated S&S, 28-3, to close out non-district play for both teams.

“All the credit goes to them,” S&S head coach Josh Aleman said. “I think Collinsville’s game plan was perfect. They kept us off the field, kept us out of our tempo.”

Nathen Bocanegra caught six passes for 126 yards and a touchdown, Luis Hernandez was 11-of-15 for 167 yards and a TD to go with 14 carries for 40 yards and a score, Cory Sheppard totaled 84 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries and Colin Barnes added a score on the ground for Collinsville (3-1), which hosts Lindsay on Friday to begin District 5-2A (I) action.

Jake Reynolds had 17 carries for 82 yards and Suzanna Griffin kicked a 31-yard field goal for S&S (2-1), which opens District 8-3A (II) by hosting Blue Ridge on Friday.

“I asked the kids, ‘how are you going to respond?” Aleman said. “We’re going to get back to work and get ready for Blue Ridge. We’re going to have to play better if we want to win.”

Collinsville was able to methodically extend its lead. But it started with defense as S&S got the ball to open the second half. The Rams had nine plays — all on the ground — get to the Pirates 32-yard line before a fourth-and-two keeper by Reynolds was stopped for no gain.

Even though penalties backed Collinsville up to its 17, the march towards the end zone lasted more than five minutes — helped by a pass interference call on third-and-29 for a fresh set of downs at the S&S 24 — and Sheppard got around the left end as his second-effort nearl the goal line produced a four-yard TD with 2:23 left in the third quarter.

Brayden Ward recovered the onside kick and following a 28-yard catch by Bocanegra, Barnes scored from five yards out on the opening play of the fourth quarter to close out the scoring.

Bocanegra had a knack for big catches — all but one went for at least 10 yards.

“He really changes the game when you get the vertical passing game going,” Patterson said. “That set us up for the run game the second half. It’s always a huge advantage to have a player be able to go up and get the ball.”

Meanwhile, S&S lacked an explosive element. Only one of its 41 snaps went for at least 10 yards.

“We weren’t giving up the big play. That’s something we’ve had trouble with,” Patterson said. “We were able to prevent that and we had some really good stops.”

The Rams tried to rally but a bad snap on their first possession of the fourth led to a punt with 8:35 remaining. Collinsville turned the ball over on downs but the damage was done as all but the final two minutes melted off the clock.

The Pirates extended their lead right before half-time with a touchdown in the closing seconds.

Collinsville nearly had a TD a minute earlier on a fourth-down throw from the 13-yard line to the end zone but Justin Hernandez was hit from behind while coming down with a catch and the ball was knocked loose.

The Pirates were able to force a quick three-and-out and took over just shy of midfield with 23 seconds remaining until the break. It was plenty of time after Luis Hernandez connected with Bocanegra in front of two defenders deep down the middle for 41 yards.

Two plays later the duo hooked up from 10 yards out as the sophomore hauled in the touchdown at the left pylon with nine seconds on the clock.

Grayson Ward notched the conversion and Collinsville carried the 15-3 advantage into the locker room.

The Rams had only three possessions in the first half, thanks in large part to a Collinsville drive in the middle of the second quarter that lasted more than seven minutes but didn’t end in any points.

After picking up a couple of first downs early in the second to get past midfield, the Rams were forced to punt.

S&S’ lone scoring drive came on its opening possession. It took 11 plays and nearly five minutes, including a fourth-down conversion, before the series stalled and Griffin booted a 31-yard field goal with just under three minutes remaining in the quarter.

Collinsville scored the first time it had the ball as Luis Hernandez finished off a nine-play drive with a three-yard TD run up the middle a little more than four minutes into the contest.

Bocanegra hauled in a fourth-down pass to keep the possession going and finished with five catches for 98 yards in the half.

Non-district

Collinsville;28

S&S;3