Cedar Bluff Game
September 5, 2015
Southern Torch (3351 articles)
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Cedar Bluff Game

Marla Jones, Sports Editor

marla@southerntorch.com

“We’ve gotta clean up our mistakes.  We can’t put the ball on the ground.  We can’t miss tackles.”  That was Collinsville Coach Ernie Willingham talking to his team after the Panthers lost a back and forth game to Cedar Bluff 33-26.

Mistakes and penalties were plentiful for Collinsville as well as heat cramps – in the second half runner after runner had to be helped off the field with cramps.  And the Panthers did fumble six times, losing three.

And yet, half way through the fourth quarter, Collinsville had fought back to take a one point lead, 26-25.  I looked as if the Panthers were going to overcome their early season problems.  Then Cedar Bluff quarterback Joshua Decker took over.  He had a great night – 9 of 15 passes for 189 yards and two touchdowns and 141 yards and two touchdowns rushing.

But Collinsville had their own leaders on the night.  They had three rushers with over a hundred yards – Gerald Blakely with 126 yards, Trenton Nash with 115 and Dallas Reed with 134 rushing and 37 receiving.  They each scored a touchdown with Reed adding another.  Behind their running the Panthers grabbed a 13-0 lead.  Cedar Bluff mixed passes and running to tie the game in the second.

That led to the first big turning point.  Collinsville went on a ten play drive preparing to take back the lead before half time.  On fourth down, Reed carried the ball 18 yards to the three where he fumbled.  Cedar Bluff broke a 40 yard run on the next play.  A staggered Collinsville squad watched three plays later as Decker hit a 40 yard pass for a touchdown giving the Tigers a 19-13 lead at the half.  It was a 14 point swing and huge momentum change.

In the second half, another Collinsville fumble led to Cedar Bluff scoring and taking a two touchdown lead.  Momentum finally swung back to Collinsville as they had an 11 play, 85 yard drive for one touchdown then scored another after Cedar Bluff’s only turnover of the night.  There it was – 26-25 with seven minutes left.  Collinsville needed a couple of stops for the win and the mistakes could be forgotten.

And then Decker took over.  Collinsville would only have the ball for one more play from scrimmage – its third fumble loss of the night.  Decker would lead a TD drive and a clock killing drive.  The Tigers had the ball for 17 plays from scrimmage in those two drives.  Decker completed two passes.  And he ran 13 times, picking up first down after first down most of it behind the left side of his line.  He just would not be stopped.

And so Collinsville lost its first game of the year in spite of outgaining the Tigers by fifty yards.  After the game, Willingham added, “I am proud of you.  You played hard.  You played your guts and your hearts out.  You wouldn’t quit.  But sometimes it just doesn’t show up on the scoreboard.”

Collinsville begins area play this week as they travel to West End.

Southern Torch

Southern Torch

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