Collinsville Falls To Tahlequah, First Time In Over A Decade

This entry is part 16 of 20 in the series Football

            Football homecoming was finally here for CHS. Through the whole week Collinsville schools, businesses, and homes have gone all out for homecoming decorations. Everyone was excited for the Cardinals game against the Tahlequah Tigers. The Collinsville varsity has not suffered a loss to Tahlequah in over a decade; they were undoubtedly expected to take home victory Friday night.

            The home stands were filled with screaming fans as the Cards started the 1st quarter against the Tigers. The start of the game did not go as planned. Collinsville was unable to prevent the visiting offense from scoring on their first drive and they also lost the ball due to an interception on Collinsville’s third offensive play of the game. To Collinsville’s disbelief, Tahlequah had a two-touchdown lead over the Cards at the end of the 1st quarter. Mouths were left open in shock all across the home side of the field. Then, to make matters even worse, Tahlequah had another offensive drive that led to a 30yrd field goal. Whatever they did, the offense would need to keep the ball longer so their defense could rest and also, find a way to put points on their score board or they would have no way of staying in this game.

            Collinsville was slow to start, but found success in their final offensive drive. Starting from their own 26, the home team soon found themselves in the red-zone after Jake Tuttle rushed for 68 yards in one play. At this point in the game, the Cards were having lots of trouble with the ball in the backfield; several bad snaps were given and numerous fumbles in the backfield due to handoffs not fully connecting. Nevertheless, the Cardinals were able to capitalize off their scoring opportunity. Malcolm Tillman was the RB who forced the ball for the extra yards and scored at the end of the half. This 74yrd scoring drive made Collinsville only trailing 7-17, allowing a chance for a comeback in the 2nd half.

            The next two quarters were to be a dog fight. The Cards were no longer slow, but on top of it. Collinsville received in the 3rd quarter and was given amazing field position by Hayden West after a 56yrd return. West did this several times over the course of the night, adding up to a total of 143 return yards. With their great position to start the half, Collinsville was able to force the ball into the Tiger end zone for another Cardinal Touchdown scored by Tillman again.  The crowd was roaring with excitement as Collinsville was only trailing by a field goal.

            The Cardinal defense had stepped up in the second half. Numerous passes were blocked by Carson Stout and Walker Roberts and major tackles were given by Spencer Oslin  and Nate Sinni. A strong big-red defense forced the Tigers to punt in their first offensive drive of the 3rd quarter. This punt was very poorly snapped far past Tahlequah’s punter. Collinsville then recovered the ball on their opponent’s one-yard-line. This fantastic turn of events enabled Collinsville to score with Tillman running u the middle again. Ashton Jones kicked the extra point who now had a 90% kicking average; completing nine of ten field goals and extra points for Collinsville. With four minutes left of the 3rd quarter, the Cards and the lead at 21-17. The home crowd was cheering louder than ever before.

            Sadly, the fight was not over and the lead would not last. After Tahlequah regained possession of the ball, they also took back the lead with another touchdown. But after some gigantic rushing plays from Tillman and Brayden Burd, Collinsville was in position to score once again! The Cards then fumbled and lost the ball after Tate Robards was hit hard in the backfield. Tahlequah marched down the field with immense amounts of momentum. After an 80yrd drive they reached Collinsville’s 9yrd line and threw for the touchdown, but it was intercepted by Walker Roberts. Roberts stopped a game sealing win for the Tigers and gave the momentum back to the Cardinals.

            With Collinsville having an obvious skill for forcing the turnover on defense, the Tigers were taking to any means necessary to prevent the Cards from regaining the lead. Because of this, the home crowd believed there were many very brutal penalties not being called. Tahlequah would quickly recover the ball from the exhausted home offense. As the 4th quarter was coming to a conclusion, the Tigers were obviously striving to chew the clock with repeated rushing plays. The Cardinals had used all their timeouts trying to prevent this, but Tahlequah scored another touchdown; extending their lead 31-21.

With 1:44 left of the game, down by 10, the Cards were not ready to give up. Collinsville began to race down the field with big passing plays thrown from Robards, despite being sacked three times in this one drive. At the end, Robards managed the pressure exceedingly well and lead his team down the field quickly. The team was in scoring possession with very little time. Robards threw to Roberts, but with a dirty helmet to helmet hit from the defense, the pass was dropped and Walker Roberts was left on down on the turf. The entire Collinsville side protested for a targeting penalty, which would lead to the ejection of that player for the rest of the game and the next game for Tahlequah. Only a personal foul call was give. Collinsville threw one last pass for the end-zone that fell incomplete as the final buzzer sounded.

The Cardinals lost their homecoming game 31-21. The final score was harsh to see, but Collinsville did not hang their heads in disappointment. The varsity team fought hard for the win down to the very last second. The Cardinals gave their all their hearts could give to the very last whistle, and because of that, there is no shame in their loss Friday night.

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Devyn Lyon

Collinsville High School Senior, Class of 2018, Cross Country Captain and Cardinal Connection Staff Editor

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