Panthers outrun Bison in shootout

Collinsville senior QB Kaleb Jones threw for 112 yards, ran for 158 more and scored six total touchdowns in Friday's win over North Sand Mountain.

COLLINSVILLE – The 2A, No. 6-ranked Collinsville Panthers scored early and often throughout Friday’s 54-28 shootout victory over the North Sand Mountain Bison.

The win moves the Panthers to 3-0 to start their 100th season and gives them a 1-0 start in regional play.

Friday’s shootout started with a defensive stand though as North Sand Mountain came up short on a 4th-and-1 from their own 34 on their opening drive.

Collinsville’s leading rushers Kaleb Jones and Malachi Orr then quickly put the Panthers on the board with a short scoring drive that ended on a 1-yard keeper by Jones, which was his first of six total touchdowns of the night.

Jason Perez followed with his first of five PATs to make the score 7-0.

The Bison quickly answered back just two plays into their next drive when Fernando Luna broke several tackles on his way to the end zone on a 66-yard touchdown run. The Bison missed their PAT though to make the score 7-6 midway through the first.

The Panthers’ next drive saw Orr carry the load. Starting from their own 45, Orr had a 28-yard pickup and followed it with a 27-yard touchdown run where he spun away from multiple defenders and made the score 14-6.

Collinsville’s defense then came up with another fourth-down stop near midfield before Kaleb Jones took the Panthers’ next snap and took off for a 35-yard gain. Orr nearly scored a play later on a 12-yard pickup. Jones then capped it off with another score from a yard out to make the lead 21-6 at the end of the first.

After a three-and-out from the Bison, it looked like Collinsville would put the game out of reach early until Bison senior Damon Gentle picked off a pass from Jones and returned near midfield.

North Sand Mountain then marched 57 yards on six plays and scored on a 15-yard strike from quarterback Landon Green to Cade Bell. Luna punched in a 2-point conversion to cut Collinsville’s lead to seven with 7:46 left in the half.

Collinsville faced third-and-long quickly on their next possession, but converted on a 16-yard strike from Jones to Dalton Hughes over the middle. Five plays later, Jones called his own number and outran the Bison defense down the left sideline on a 37-yard touchdown run.

The Panthers then pulled off a surprise onside kick that was recovered by Myles Underwood. Collinsville then threw more trickery at the Bison with a flea flicker play that resulted in a 41-yard completion from Jones to Garrett Skelton that moved the ball down the NSM 1-yard line. Jones then punched it in once more. Collinsville missed their PAT and went into the half up 34-14.

The Panthers stayed hot offensively to start the third. They opened the half with a 9-play, 58-yard drive that ended on a long touchdown pass from Jones to Michael Tucker after a holding penalty had the Collinsville offense facing first-and-goal from 25 yards out. The PAT was no good again and made the score 40-14.

After a quick three-and-out from NSM, Jones and Tucker connected again on a 22-yard swing pass to make the lead 47-14 late in the third.

Green fired two late touchdown passes in the fourth. The first was a 22-yarder to Derek Bearden and the latter was a 30-yard strike to Gentle.

Jones’ final touchdown of the night came on a 38-yard dash with 3:06 left in regulation. He finished with 158 yards and four touchdowns rushing and completed 5-of-9 passes for 112 yards and two scores.

Orr racked up 126 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries in the win.

Both teams will stay in Region 8 next week as Collinsville travels to Fyffe and North Sand Mountain takes on Asbury at home.

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