Originally published at GrandLakeNews.com on Friday, Oct. 10, 2014
Grove faced a patient Collinsville squad and came short of victory Friday night, ending a three-game home winning streak.
The Cardinals won 33-12, gaining most of their yards on the ground behind quarterback Shawn Kocheski and tailback Blake Burd.
Kocheski carried the ball 12 times for 207 yards and three touchdowns. He attempted only eight passes and completed three of them for 24 yards. The senior quarterback didn’t pass for a touchdown but had one interception at the hands of Grove’s Spencer Dills just before halftime.
Grove’s Will Amos was has success passing Friday night. He completed 14 of 26 attempts for 90 yards. Amos was kept out of the end zone for the first time this season, but three of his passes converted first downs on Grove’s initial scoring drive.
Grove’s defense gave another gutsy effort. The Ridgerunners (3-3 overall, 0-2 in District 5A-4) had five takeaways against the Cardinals (5-1, 3-0) and coach Mike Loyd said he was pleased with their effort.
“The thing I’m proud of is the kids, they played,” Loyd said. “The defense was on the field too long against a very explosive football team. Senior quarterback, senior tailback and some people who can play. They didn’t go to the state semi-finals last year by mistake.”
Grove managed to score after only one of those valuable possessions; something Loyd said could have changed the landscape of the game.
“You gotta find a way to make plays, especially when you get the ball turned over at the other end of the field,” Loyd said. “You want to win games in this district, it’s a tough district. Those kinds of plays, you gotta get better at them.”
The first takeaway was a fumble Braxton Miller recovered at the Collinsville 21 yard line to end the Cardinals’ first possession. Grove went three-and-out and missed a field goal to give the ball back only two minutes later.
Then came Dills’ pick. Grove wouldn’t get a chance to mount a drive after that athletic play, tough, for the clock ran out on the first half and the Ridgerunners trailed 12-0.
The next takeaway came as Kocheski tried to convert on fourth down. Dylan Johnson flew past the offensive line and wrapped up the quarterback for a six-yard loss and a turnover on downs. Grove would pick up three brilliant first downs on passes from quarterback Will Amos but give the ball back in the same fashion it received it.
Jonson landed on a fumble in the third quarter and Javier Lara did the same with about 18 seconds left in the game. The latter turnover produced a nifty score, though.
Backup quarterback Austin Butler hit Dills on a big gain for 33 yards down the left sideline on his first play. The next play saw Butler roll right before firing a pass to Dills again, this time in the end zone with three seconds left in the game.
Dills was Grove’s leading receiver with five catches for 43 yards and one touchdown. At tight end, Johnson kept the Collinsville coordinators worried all night. He finished the game with two catches for 16 yards, but anytime No. 40 was on the field, Cardinals’ defenders heard about it.
Garett Sisco played the entire game at running back for Grove, his first full-game appearance there. Sisco had 7 rushes for 22 yards and his team’s first touchdown. He had one fumble, which came at the end of a controversial call. Even Collinsville’s lineman who recovered the ball stood still for a moment before realizing no whistle had been blown.
Collinsville was granted the ball, regardless, and Sisco would redeem himself on the next drive with a big gain for first down en route to his touchdown run.
With the win, Collinsville moved to the top of District 5A-4 with three wins and no losses. Tahlequah had a hand in the Cardinal’s rise. The Tigers beat Pryor 31-21, handing Pryor its first district loss and shaking up the standings.
Collinsville has a 14-point lead in the district standings over Pryor. Grove and East Central are the only teams without district wins. The Ridgerunners will travel to East Central next Thursday seeking to keep themselves a step ahead of the Cardinals in 5A-4.