By Marla Jones, Sports Editor • firstname.lastname@example.org
COLLINSVILLE, Ala. — The Collinsville Panthers defeated the North Sand Mountain Bisons 37-28 on Friday night in the third round of the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) State Playoffs.
With 6:03 remaining in the first quarter, North Sand Mountain put the first points on the board with a 2-yard pass connection by quarterback Landon Green. The kick was good, giving the Bisons the 7-0 lead. Collinsville answered back as Malachi Orr stampeded down the field for 19-yards to score. The kick by Jason Perez, tied the game 7-7 with 4:50 remaining in the opening quarter. With 2:42 remaining in the first, the Bisons scored on a 36-yard pass connection. The extra point attempt was good and the Bisons took the 14-7 lead.
Collinsville scored back-to-back touchdowns in the second quarter. One with 10:29 remaining, on a 1-yard dash into the endzone by Michael Tucker. The kick by Perez was good. The second touchdown by Collinsville was on a 5-yard stampede into the endzone, also by Tucker. The kick by Perez gave the Panthers the 21-14 lead. North Sand Mountain scored their lone touchdown of the second quarter on a 39-yard pass connection. The point after attempt was good, tying the game at 21-21. The Bisons held the Panthers on their next possession, forcing a 39-yard field goal with 0:19 remaining in the first half. The field goal was good by Perez, giving the Panthers the 24-21 advantage going into intermission.
Collinsville controlled the third quarter of the game, scoring on a 1-yard quarterback keeper by Kaleb Jones with 6:42 remaining in the third quarter. The Panthers went for two but were stopped by the Bisons, making the score 30-21.
North Sand Mountain answered back with 5:13 remaining in the game on a 17-yard pass connection for the score. The kick was good, cutting into the Panther advantage, 30-28. With 2:45 remaining in the game, Jones returned a Pick 6, 26-yards for the touchdown. The kick by Perez made the final score, 37-28.
Michael Tucker led the Panthers with 23 rushes for 134 yards, two touchdowns and two pass receptions for 25 yards. He had a 47-yard kickoff return that set up a 31-yard drive to tie the game 14-14 in the second quarter.
Kaleb Jones has 12 rushes for a total of 28 yards and a touchdown. He went 4-for-5 passes for 42 yards. He had a 26-yard interception return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter to give Collinsville the 9-point lead, with under 3 minutes in regulation play.
Bryan Lopez recovered a fumble to set up a 26-yard touchdown drive to give Collinsville their first lead at 21-14.
For North Sand Mountain, Landon Green lead the Bisons with 190 yards passing for four touchdowns.
“I am so proud of our guys. They played so hard. We have twelve seniors and our offensive line has been starting for four years. I thought they gave us some stability tonight,” said Collinsville Head Coach Ernie Willingham. “This year, we are concentrating on playing hard and taking care of business.”
“This is the first Collinsville team to reach the semifinals since the playoffs were changed to five games. Michael Tucker played great. He has so much heart when he is playing,” continued Willingham. “Kaleb Jones was playing a little hurt. He really had to suck it up in the second half and offense and defense. Green didn't throw a bad pass all night, but Kaleb stepped in front of that one and gave us a pick six when we really needed it.”
This win, the ninth in the row for Collinsville, advances the Panthers to the AHSAA semifinals where they will face a familiar foe, the Fyffe Red Devils. In their last meeting, Fyffe won the challenge, 24-3 and the Panthers are looking for revenge.
Collinsville will travel as they take on the Fyffe Red Devils at Long-Ridgeway Stadium on Friday.