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SHELBYVILLE – Same location, same matchup, same result.
One month after Collins whipped North Oldham 35-6 at Titan Stadium to win the regular season district title, it did the same thing to North Friday to win a region title.
The Titans scored 42 unanswered points and beat the Mustangs 42-14 in the state quarterfinals Friday night. Collins earned the Class 4A, Region 2 title with the win.
Friday was a frustrating night for a North (9-4) team that had forced running clocks in the first two playoff rounds – wins over Doss (49-12) and Western (49-6). Against Collins, the Mustangs were themselves handed a running clock in the fourth quarter, down 42-6.
“They’re just a top notch team,” coach Billy Martin said of the Titans. “I expect them to be playing in the state final against somebody and my hat’s off to them.”
The game’s most decisive stat was time of possession. Collins held the ball for nearly three-quarters of the game, at 29:37. Meanwhile North had the ball for just over 12 minutes.
No part of the game better exemplified that margin than the second quarter, when the Mustangs ran four offensive plays. Collins scored 14 points in the second to turn a slim 7-6 Titans advantage into a decisive 21-6 halftime lead.
“We had four plays in the second quarter and you can’t win a game against anybody with that, especially a team the caliber of Collins,” Martin said.
North came out swinging, taking the lead on the game’s first drive thanks to a 15-yard run by senior Quentin Shea. Brandon Peege’s missed extra point made the score 6-0 early.
That lead was the only one the Mustangs had all game, and it didn’t last long.
The Titans took the ball down the field, with a Lawson Page touchdown pass to Nathan Sames giving Collins a 7-6 lead.
North had a chance to take the lead back on its next possession, but Peege’s 40-yard field goal attempt came up well short.
The Titans took control of the game on their next drive. Starting from their six-yard line after a 62-yard Adam Judd punt, Collins marched methodically down the field. Eventually a 55-yard Dre Farris run set up a Ryan Watkins touchdown plunge to make the score 14-6.
Mustang QB Keenan Dowd was intercepted on North’s next drive. The Titans turned that into a touchdown, thanks to a 41-yard screen pass from Page to Farris, making the score 21-6.
“The first quarter we were controlling the game,” Dowd said. “We looked pretty good first quarter. And then second quarter, they’re a heck of a football team. We just needed to rise to the occasion.
“We didn’t show out like true Mustangs. But I believe in my team anytime. It is what it is.”
Shea fumbled the opening kickoff of the second half. Watkins added two more rushing touchdowns in the third, and then his fourth early in the fourth quarter, to make the score 42-6.
Watkins finished with 64 yards and four touchdowns on 13 carries. Farris, a Western Kentucky University commit, added 124 yards rushing and 97 yards and a score receiving.
North added a touchdown in the end, coming on a two-yard Nick Thome run. Peege ran in for a two-point conversion to make the final score 42-14 in favor of Collins.
“If we’d played the level of football we know how to play, we would’ve been right there with them the whole way through,” Thome said.
Arien Beasley had 12 rushes for 130 yards, breaking the school’s single-season rushing record in the first quarter. Beasley finished the year with 1,406 rushing yards. He also had 49 receiving yards on the night. Shea, Thome and Dowd ran for 39, 20 and 17 yards, respectively.
The loss was especially bitter considering what was at stake, Dowd said.
“This was either us or Collins and then we would’ve played Highlands in the state (finals),” Dowd said. “They’re playing Owensboro (in the state semifinals), they’re going to beat them, they’re going to play Highlands. This was a game for state, pretty much. We just got beat.”
The 2013 season was still a historic one for the Mustangs. North advanced to the state quarterfinals for only the second time in school history, with the other occasion being a run to the 3A quarterfinals in 2010. This was the deepest the Mustangs had advanced in their time as a Class 4A school.
Senior linebacker Will Steinfeld said he’s proud of what the senior class accomplished this season.
“Considering how many seniors we graduated last year,” Steinfeld said, “andwhat the expectations for this year were and how poorly we started off with injuries, how nobody really believed in us, the fact we were all able to go out our senior year doing what we did, it means a lot. It’ll carry with me for the rest of my life.”
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