ALTON – Something had to give when the Alton Redbirds and Collinsville Kahoks squared off on Friday in a Southwestern Conference game at Public School Stadium.
Both teams came into the contest at 0-5.
“We had two teams fighting for a victory tonight,” Alton coach Eric Dickerson said.
Unfortunately for the Redbirds, the Kahoks left Alton with a come-from-behind victory. Collinsville edged Alton 33-30 to pick up its first win of the season.
The Redbirds dropped to 0-6 and 0-4 in league play.
“They’re hurting a little bit, but they’ll be fine,” Dickerson said. “They’re resilient young kids and they’ll be able to bounce back. They have three weeks left.”
The Kahoks improved to 1-5 overall and 1-3 in conference play. Collinsville, which lost its first five games by average margin of 33 points, came back from a 23-14 halftime deficit to beat the Redbirds for the second straight year.
“Our goal all along is to try to win four games,” Collinsville coach Rick Rinehart said. “We’re one game closer. The big thing is we finally played a second half. That’s the first time this year where we finally played a second half. For us to come from behind three times and get the lead at the end, I’m just elated that our kids finally showed some gumption and fought back.”
Collinsville had strong performances from its senior class in Trevor Sanders, Jaaron Williams, Andrew Borror, Nick Denbow and quarterback Tyler Callahan. Sanders scored two touchdowns, Williams, Borrow and Denbow each scored a TD and Callahan threw for a TD.
Williams scored a seven-yard TD run with 1 minute, 59 seconds left in the game to give Collinsville a 33-30 lead.
“Jaaron rebounded really well,” Rinehart said. “He had a rough go on some pass routes and coverage. But when he came in there at the end, he had the big run and that was the difference.”
Cody Markle, Morris Adams, Ben Rakoski, Micah Meeks, C.J. Nasello, Breyon Reed, Kade Bock and Kalen Samelton make up the Alton senior class. With their high school football careers coming down to their final three weeks, Dickerson hopes his team picks up some wins.
“It’s always important,” the Alton coach said. “These seniors have put in four years of hard work. Cody is a three-year starter and Ben and Morris are four-year starters for us. I want more than anything for them to get a win and they do, too. The guys are fighting for it. They’re trying. Hopefully, we can turn things around and come back out and fight hard these following three weeks.”
Alton will travel to Granite City at 7 p.m. next Friday to take on the Warriors, who dropped to 3-3 overall and 2-2 in conference play after losing 44-34 to O’Fallon on Friday.
The Kahoks’ next game will be at 7 p.m. next Friday against O’Fallon at home.
Rashad Williams, Kevin Caldwell, Johnathan Bumpers and quarterback Taylor Price each scored a touchdown for the Redbirds, who have scored 58 points in the last two games.
“We’re scoring points, but we’re giving up a lot, too,” Dickerson said. “Our defense is out there a lot of the time and they get worn down by the fourth quarter. When we give the other team a short field to work on, that’s tough. That’s tough to ask them to do it three or four times throughout a game.”
Williams scored a 62-yard touchdown catch with 7:23 left in the first quarter to give Alton a 7-0 lead.
Two minutes later, Sanders scored a 79-yard touchdown run to tie the game at 7-7.
Caldwell gave the Redbirds a 14-7 lead on an 86-yard touchdown catch with 10:32 remaining in the second quarter.
Five minutes later, Denbow recovered an Alton fumble and scored an 84-yard touchdown run to tie the game at 14-14.
Alton scored a safety after Sanders was tackled at the end zone with 1:07 left in the second. Twelve seconds later, Bumpers scored a 42-yard touchdown catch to give the Redbirds a 23-14 halftime lead.
Borror’s 16-yard TD catch with 6:08 left in the third quarter cut Alton’s lead to 23-21. Sanders gave the Kahoks a 27-23 lead with a 12-yard TD run with 6:44 to go in the fourth.
Price scored an 11-yard TD run with 5:29 left in the game to give the Redbirds a 30-27 lead.
With 2:30 left, Nasello attempted a punt, but the ball slipped out of his hands due to the rainy conditions and he was tackled at Alton’s 6-yard line, setting up the game-winning touchdown run by Williams.
Alton had another chance to win the game in the closing seconds, but Price’s pass was intercepted by Collinsville senior Rodney Rogers at the Kahoks’ 47.