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Everything was clicking for the Collins football team Friday night.
Playing what Titans Coach Jerry Lucas called “our best game of the season,” Collins clobbered North Oldham, 35-6, in the de facto Class AAAA, District 3 championship game.
The victory gave the 4-year-old Titans their fourth consecutive district title and assured them of home-field advantage for the first three rounds of the playoffs, which begin Nov. 8.
Collins (7-2, 4-0) won its 16th consecutive regular-season district game – after losing its first in 2010 – by rolling up 412 yards of offense and capitalizing on some Mustang miscues.
“It seemed like we put everything together tonight,” Lucas said.
Lawson Page passed for 227 yards and three touchdowns and also ran for 67 yards. Dre Farris had 99 all-purpose yards and one touchdown, Nathan Sames had 99 receiving yards and a TD, and Ryan Watkins rushed for 67 yards and a score.
The Titans set the tone in the decisive victory on their first series of the game.
After North Oldham (6-3, 3-1) took the opening kickoff and drove downfield for Brandon Peege’s 33-yard field goal, the Titans went to their “heavy” package and overpowered the Mustangs with an 11-play – all runs – 66-yard drive that Watkins capped with a 9-yard TD run.
“We wanted to hit them in the mouth from the start,” said senior Masai Whyte, a running back in Collins’ “heavy” package.
Lucas said the Titans decided Wednesday in practice that they wanted to make a statement.
“The offensive line said, ‘Let’s come out and smash them,’” Lucas said. “It was a beautiful drive, and I thought it set the tone for the rest of the night.”
Collins added to its lead early in the second quarter after Blanton Creque’s punt bounced off the leg of North Oldham returner Jake Collins, and the Titans recovered the ball. Seven plays later Whyte’s 1-yard touchdown run and Creque’s PAT gave Collins a 14-3 lead 9:23 before halftime.
Another turnover led to another Titans touchdown later in the quarter.
Two plays after Collins recovered a high Shotgun-formation snap that went over the head of North’s quarterback, Page found Farris for a 41-yard touchdown – on a play that Lucas said the Titans had just put in their playbook the day before – with 4:37 left in the first half.
Peege hit another 33-yard field goal with 10 seconds left in the first half to pull the Mustangs to 21-6, but the Titans took the opening kickoff of the second half and marched downfield for a touchdown – a 31-yard pass from Page to Sames, who caught the ball near the sideline, then broke a couple of attempted tackles on his way to the end zone.
The icing came early in the fourth quarter, when Page found Landon Forrest for a 59-yard touchdown pass.
North Oldham drove inside Collins’ 10 three times but couldn’t score. Once the Mustangs fumbled at the Titans’ 2, but Collins fumbled it back on the next play. The Titans’ D came up big again, though, stopping North on downs.
“The defense stepped up,” Farris said.
That was the case all night, as Collins limited North Oldham, which came in averaging 39.5 points and 388.1 yards per game, to a pair of field goals and 258 yards of offense.
“The kids really went to school this week, learned their offense inside and out,” Lucas said.
The Titans were especially effective against the run, holding the Mustangs, who entered averaging 302.3 yards per game, to 149 yards on 40 rushes (or 3.7 yards per carry), and 52 of those came on North’s first drive.
Whyte led the Collins defense with 15 tackles.
“We came out with intensity,” he said. “We had a good game plan and everybody was flying to the ball.”
Said Lucas: “Defense was lights out tonight. I thought the difference in the game was the offensive and defensive lines. I thought we controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball.”
The Titans, who are ranked sixth in 4A in the latest Associated Press poll, host 5A No. 3 Anderson County (8-1) at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Class AAAA, Region 2 playoff pairings
(4) Moore (4-6, 2-3) at (1) Collins (7-2, 4-0)
(3) Spencer County (5-4, 2-2) at (2) Nelson County (7-3, 4-1)
(3) Doss (6-3, 3-2) at (2) North Oldham (6-3, 3-1)
(4) Waggener (1-8, 1-3) at (1) Western (5-4, 5-0)