HUNTSVILLE – Luis Ailon’s 27-yard field goal with one second remaining lifted the Collinsville Panthers to a 44-42 victory at Whitesburg Christian in Class 2A, Region 7 football action on Friday.
The win clinched a playoff berth for the Panthers (6-2, 4-2), who travel to North Sand Mountain next week.
“We are tickled to death to win a game like this,” Collinsville coach Ernie Willingham said. “This win means that we are in the playoffs. And next week at North Sand Mountain we will be playing to see which team is seeded three and which one four.”
It was a night where both teams showed lots of offense. And both teams had trouble stopping the other team. In the end, Ailon’s foot saved the Panthers.
Collinsville fell behind 42-41 with 21 seconds left in the game. They had entered the half tied at 21. The Panthers dominated the third quarter by scoring three straight touchdowns, with the third one on the first play of the fourth quarter, making the score 41-21 after a missed PAT.
But Whitesburg Christian put together a scoring streak of its own. All night long, Collinsville had trouble stopping the passing of quarterback Kaleb Robinson to Thomas Harmon. For the game, the duo combined for 182 yards and four touchdowns. They got three in a row in the fourth including that last one with 21 seconds left.
Collinsville had been led all night by the running of Keaton DeBoard, who ran for 232 yards and two touchdowns and quarterback Mason McAteer, who ran for 94 yards and a score and passed for 171 yards and three touchdowns.
The Panthers were also aided strongly by Gavin Lang, who had 128 yards receiving and three touchdowns. He also had an interception to stop a Whitesburg drive at the 10-yard line in the third quarter.
It looked as if all that yardage might have been for naught when the Warriors took a one-point lead. They squibbed the kickoff to keep Collinsville from having a long return. With 15 seconds left, McAteer hit DeBoard for his only reception of the night, a 43-yarder down field before he was knocked out of bounds at the 9-yard line with six seconds left. Willingham elected to go with Ailon for the last play of the game, and he came through.
The Panthers were required to kickoff as the clock somehow stopped with 0.6 of a second, but the kick was covered by Eli Griggs for the final.