After the upset from Catoosa, the Collinsville varsity football team was going to “get back to the roots of Code Red Football,” according to head coach Jones. The team had a bye-week and then they would head to challenge No. 1 Bishop Kelley. The Cardinals were ready to fight, and leave the past three games behind them. Insight about a quarterback change and the return of star receiver, Grayson Boomer, was given prior to the game from Coach Tom Redding. The new QB for the night was Cole Duggar, a sophomore who was showing much promise in practice.
“We are going to give him a shot.” Redding stated. “It’s baptism by fire for a young athlete, but we are confident he can handle it and be successful out there.”
The young QB was told to start against the daunting No.1 5A team in the state. The Collinsville O-line would have to do their job better than ever in order to protect him. It was the underdog’s chance to prove himself to his coaches, the town, and even help the Cards create a different outcome in an important game. Redding stated that “with both Cole and Grayson out there, there will certainly be a difference.”
There was, indeed, a difference in the first quarter with these two players on the field. The first drive, Duggar led the team to an immediate touchdown drive after some significant rushing and passing plays. The Cards were up early over the comets at 6-0. Duggar showed significant talent to throw under pressure, even during the hard hits. However, Duggar was not being protected well enough to survive the entire game. In result of this, a bad snap was given and Duggar rushed for the ball as a large defensive tackle rushed for him and hit him hard in the backfield. The Cardinal QB was immediately attended to by medical staff and taken off the field. Duggar’s arm was put into a temporary cast and he was taken to the hospital where it was confirmed that he suffered a clean break in two places on his throwing-arm.
Without Duggar, the Cardinals were able to maintain their lead throughout the first half, only allowing a field goal to finish the second quarter. However, nearly every BK offensive play was a close call to a huge gain, and it was only a matter of time before the big passes were completed. The Cardinal defense was feeling the weight of exhaustion as several 3-and-outs were given from the offense and even an interception on first down. This meant that the defense would have to be rested and ready to return to the field. Collinsville held the lead at 6-3 when the first half ended.
Although Collinsville started with the ball in the third quarter, the rushes were not long enough and the passes were dropped. BK would immediately take the ball and then score on their first drive. A major play-maker in the second half was Cale Hutchens, the punter for Collinsville, who repeatedly put the Comet offense on their own half-yard line: a “coffin-corner.” Hutchens did this three times in the second half, always giving the defense a chance on the field. However, the opposing offense was hard to stop. The Cardinal defense was having major issues as several players were coming out due to injuries and being hindered by some controversial penalties. Senior defensive-lineman, Caden Weathers, had a sack for Collinsville and several stops, but was taken off the field after suffering a serious injury to the knee. Senior defensive-back, Carson Stout, was also pulled from the game as he continued to feel pain in his back after a late hit from the Comets. Nate Sinni, senior defensive-end, was also pulled from the game after feeling a tremendous amount of pain in the same leg he injured at the beginning of the season.
Many young players were seeing the field for the first time, but that didn’t stop the Comets. After numerous stops and turnovers, BK held the lead at 24-6 at the end of the last quarter. In the second half, Collinsville had only 25 total passing yards from Tate Robards, who was sacked countless times. There was also less than 50 yards gained by rushing for the offense in the last half.
Collinsville is distraught at the loss when so much hope was given in the first half. The outcome could have been very different without the injuries. With homecoming approaching, the Cardinals will work towards getting healthy this week in order to tally up a win against Tahlequah.