Collinsville overcomes slow start to down North Sand Mountain, 28-12

By John Morgan, Special to WEIS

HIGDON – Collinsville was able to overcome some early struggles to earn a 28-12 Class 2A, Region 7 football win at North Sand Mountain on Friday. The win clinched the third playoff spot from the region. The Panthers (7-2, 5-2) will travel to Falkville on Nov. 6.

“It was really important that we finish third in our region,” Collinsville coach Ernie Willingham said. “It should help us with our draw in the playoffs.”

Keaton Deboard turned in an all-around performance for the Panthers.

On offense, he accumulated 135 yards rushing and three touchdowns, with his last one a run of 44 yards to give the Panthers a 16-point lead with two minutes left in the game. He added a pass reception for two yards. On special teams, he had a kickoff return of 43 yards and he helped flip field position with four punts averaging 38 yards.

On defense, DeBoard broke up several passes, including one in the fourth quarter on a fourth down that would have given North Sand Mountain (4-5, 4-3) a chance to tie the Panthers.

The Bison were able to score two touchdowns in the second quarter to take a 12-0 lead with 1:41 left in the half. The passing of quarterback Landon Keller to Blake Hall led them to the lead.

Collinsville began to come back with a quick 4-play drive set up by a good kickoff return by Hunter James, a pass to Kyler Beene, and two runs by DeBoard. Quarterback Mason McAteer ran the final11 yards for a touchdown. Kicker Luis Ailon connected on the first of four PATs.

In the second half, Collinsville kept North Sand out of the end zone while the Panthers scored three touchdowns in the half.

“Our field position was bad (early in the game) and we struggled, but I thought when we got the touchdown near the end of the half and led off the second half with another touchdown that gave us the lead, then we settled down and played well through the second half,” Willingham said.

For Collinsville, McAteer passed for 73 yards and ran for 43 yards. Eli Griggs had an interception that ended a Bison fourth-quarter drive.

Collinsville closes out the regular season at home on Thursday against Valley Head.

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