Titans remember their home offense

-A A +A

Page, Whyte, Farris power them to victory

By Josh Cook

It was home, sweet home for Collins High School’s football team.


The Titans, playing their first game at Titans Stadium in nearly two years, outscored, outlasted and outmuscled Oldham County, 28-14, Friday night. A little help from Hollywood didn’t hurt either.

Collins went 7-1 and outscored its opponents, 357-134 (44.6 points per game to 16.8), at home during its inaugural season in 2010, but didn’t play there last season because of issues with its playing surface.

In their first game there since a 31-26 loss to Western in November of 2010 in the quarterfinals of the Class AAAA playoffs, the Titans tallied 420 yards of total offense – 242 through the air and 178 on the ground. Junior quarterback Lawson Page passed for 178 yards and two touchdowns, and junior running back/linebacker Masai Whyte had 92 rushing yards and one touchdown and tallied 16 tackles to go along with one interception. Junior running back/defensive back Dre Farris rushed for 91 yards and one TD and recorded 15 tackles.

“I thought there were some outstanding performances on both sides of the ball,” Collins Coach Jerry Lucas said.

The Titans (2-1) took a 14-0 lead, but the Colonels (1-2) tied the score late in the first half. However Collins responded with a touchdown just before halftime and another in the third quarter to take command.

The Titans forced four turnovers in their second victory this season over a Class 6A school – they also beat Meade County in their season-opener.

The first came on Oldham’s first possession, when the Colonels drove inside the Titans’ 20, but Collins sophomore defensive back Browning Becherer picked off Brett Strnad’s fourth-down pass at the 1-yard line.

Faced with 99 yards to go, the Titans required only four plays. Page passed to Whyte for 22 yards, and Farris ran for 68 yards. After a holding penalty and a short run, Page passed 19 yards to Jordan Parker in the back of the end zone.

After a poor punt gave them the ball at the Oldham 37, the Titans again needed only four plays to score. Page rushed for 8 yards and Logan Bailey for 19, and, after another holding penalty and a short run by Page, the Titans took a page out of T.C. Williams’ Titans’ playbook.

Before the game they watched Remember the Titans, and Lucas had inserted the state-championship-winning play from that movie, the “Fake 23 Blast with a backside Georgia reverse,” into Titans’ playbook.

So on second down from Oldham’s 24 Page handed off to Bailey. Bailey, who while running to his left, flipped the ball to Farris, who ran around the right end for a touchdown.

Unlike the movie version, this game wasn’t over.

Oldham answered with a pair of touchdown drives – the first one, 10 plays for 81 yards, and the second, seven plays for 43 yards – to tie the score at 14 – but not for long.

On the Titans’ ensuing possession, Collins quickly moved down the field – going 68 yards in seven plays and in only 1 minute, 48 seconds.

“Most teams talk about the two-minute drill. We run a two-minute offense,” Lucas said.

The Titans proved that.

Page threw a screen pass to Farris and then sandwiched two big-gain completions to Landon Forrest – the second for 19 yards – around a pair of incompletions.

On the next play, Page rolled to his left and threw toward the front pylon, where Nathan Sames made a sliding touchdown catch with 24 seconds left in the first half to give Collins a 21-14 lead at intermission.

“That was huge,” Lucas said. “I thought Lawson was in complete command. He was focused on scoring. That was a beautiful drive.”

In the third quarter, the Titans took over on their own 6-yard line after a block-in-the-back penalty negated a big return by Farris, and this time six plays were required to cover those 94 yards.

Page threw to Sames for 6 yards and scrambled for 19, and after another penalty, the pair hooked up for 15 yards. A short screen pass to Farris, followed by an offsides penalty on Oldham, moved the Titans to OC’s 46.

A holding penalty pushed Collins back to its side of the field before Whyte took a handoff from Page and got around the right end, with some big blocks by Farris and Parker, on his way 53 yards for a touchdown.

Long gains on the ground were commonplace for Collins, which rushed for 242 yards on only 18 carries – an average of 13.4 yards. “That’s efficient,” Lucas said.

The Colonels had a chance to cut into Collins’ lead late, but Whyte tipped then intercepted a pass by Strnad near the goal line.

“I thought Masai Whyte was a beast,” Lucas said. “You want to talk about stuffing a stat sheet, he did.

“And I thought Dre [Farris] was fantastic defensively, too. Those two kids were great. It’s exciting for us to watch them play the game of football.”

The Titans play at Eastern (2-1), which is ranked sixth in The Associated Press’ Class 6A poll, at 7:30 p.m. Friday.