By Cole Frederick/Fort Payne Times-Journal
A 10-yard touchdown run by running back Dallas Reed gave the Collinsville Panthers a thrilling 13-7 overtime victory over the Westbrook Christian Warriors last Friday in Class 2A, Region action in Rainbow City.
The teams were deadlocked at 7-7 after regulation, and the Warriors received the ball first. The Collinsville defense stifled the Warrior offense, and Westbrook was forced to settle for a 25-yard field goal attempt. The kick sailed wide left, and the Panthers took over on the 10-yard line. On the first play of the series, Reed scampered around the left end for the game-winning score.
“I think our kids played their hearts out,” said Westbrook coach Brian Mintz. “I think that’s probably one of the best efforts I’ve seen in the two years I’ve been associated here with Westbrook. I’m really, really proud of our kids. We’re disappointed in the loss, but those guys have got a good team. I think our guys rose to the challenge and beyond tonight. We were so close. All we can do is regroup and try to do better next week.”
Both defenses played well throughout the first half, and Westbrook scored its only touchdown in the game after running back Addison Ponder capped a nine-play drive with a three-yard touchdown run with 26 seconds remaining until halftime.
Late in the third quarter, Collinsville forced a Westbrook punt. The snap sailed over the punter’s head, and the Panthers took over on the Westbrook 25-yard line.
On the following play, Panther quarterback Grant Jones hit receiver Mason McKinney on a 25-yard strike to tie the game at 7-7. Neither offense could move the ball for the rest of regulation.
“I thought we came out a little flat,” said Collinsville coach Ernie Willingham. “We had a big win last week against Cedar Bluff, who’s a really good team. We underestimated Westbrook a little bit. Coach Mintz has only been there a few weeks, and they run about 4-5 plays. They’re good at what they do. They had a good game plan for us and they almost pulled it off. I’m proud of our kids for coming back, but we’ve got to play with a little more emotion from now on out because it doesn’t get any easier.”
Ponder carried the ball 13 times for 65 yards and a touchdown. Garret Kennedy added 41 yards on 13 carries.
Westbrook (2-4, 1-3) aims for its second region win of the season this Friday (Oct. 7) as the Warriors host winless Asbury.
“We’d like to get everybody well and healed up,” Mintz said. “We’re gonna have to work on maybe adding a few more plays, because we’re still just three weeks into what we’re doing offensively. We’re just taking baby steps and so far we’ve got a way to go still.”