VALLEY HEAD – The Collinsville Panthers wrapped up their 100th regular season of varsity football Friday on a high note with a dominant performance against rival Valley Head.
The No. 4-ranked Panthers scored early and often at Tiger Stadium on their way to a 42-8 win.
Their sprint towards an early lead began on their opening drive after a 15-yard run yard from quarterback Kaleb Jones moved the chains on fourth-and-short and set up a first-and-goal for Collinsville.
A jet-sweep to Jacob Jones a play later saw him dive over a pylon from nine yards out for the game’s first score.
Jason Perez followed with his first of six PATs to make the score 7-0 with 7:31 to go in the opening quarter.
Valley Head looked like they would answer after a strong kickoff return, a personal foul against the Panthers and a 29-yard run by Marlonn Trinidad moved them into the red zone.
Collinsville’s defense stood tall though and forced a four-and-out and a turnover on downs.
Both teams then traded a pair of quick punts before the Panthers drove 75 yards in six plays to double their lead early in the second quarter.
That drive started on a 16-yard completion from Kaleb Jones to Dalton Hughes over the middle.
Hughes and Michael Tucker then carried the ball across midfield over the next three snaps before Kaleb called his own number and raced 38 yards down the left sideline.
Tucker then punched the ball over the goal line a play later to put Collinsville up 14-0 with 10:45 to go in the first half.
The Panther defense then closed out the half by forcing three straight three-and-outs, with the first of those giving Collinsville the ball at midfield.
Kaleb Jones find Garrett Skelton open for a 20-yard gain on the third play of that following drive and he fired a 31-yard touchdown strike to Tucker two plays later.
That score looked like it would get called back for an ineligible receiver downfield penalty against the Panthers, but after a few minutes of discussion amongst officials, the touchdown stood and stretched the lead 21-0.
Collinsville looked like they would go up by 28 just minutes later when Kaleb Jones completed a 30-yard pass to Skelton near the goal line, but the Tigers managed to pop the ball loose as Skelton tried to spin his way towards the end zone and dove on it for a touchback.
That following Valley Head drive ended in another three-and-out though and their punt was blocked by senior Bryan Lopez.
The Panthers’ next play saw Kaleb Jones complete a 15-yard pass to Tucker. Hughes scored a play later from two yards out to make the lead 28-0 at the break.
The Tigers’ special teams unit then ended the Panthers’ shutout bid when Trinidad blocked a punt that went through the back of the end zone for a safety.
Collinsville then added two more touchdowns to their lead on a 6-yard run by Tucker and a 51-yard punt return by Kaleb Jones.
The Tigers later closed out the game with their best drive of the night, covering 72 yards with senior Thomas Brewster leading Valley Head’s running game. Brewster found the end zone on a 17-yard run with 50 seconds left on the clock to make the final score 42-8.
Both teams will enter the AHSAA State Football Playoffs as No. 2 seeds in their classifications and will host for their first-round matchups. Collinsville will battle Colbert County while Valley Head faces Hackleburg.