The Panthers put up a tough fight and were still in the game with only minutes left, but came up just short.
“I guess what it really comes down to is they made plays and we didn’t,” Collinsville coach Alan Beckett said.
Collinsville (8-3) got out of the gate quickly when Daniel Bradford intercepted a pass from Darrain Almon and scampered 24-yards to the end zone with 4:21 left in the first quarter.
The 7-0 lead held up until the third quarter, but the Chiefs (7-4) were able to get some things going defensively that shut down Collinsville’s offense.
Wide receiver Edgar Padilla had three receptions for 21 yards in the first half, but was injured just before halftime. Padilla was unable to return to the game.
“Edgar got hurt near the end of the first half,” Beckett said. “When he got hurt, they were able to cheat two men over the top of Deshawn Moore.”
Hubbard mounted some offense in the third quarter and too an 18-7 lead going into the fourth.
John Owens scored on a 5-yard run, but Collinsville blocked the point after attempt to reduce the damage. Owens also scored with three seconds left in the third on a 4-yard run. Hubbard attempted a two-point conversion run, but the Panthers sniffed it out.
“We let them hang in there,” Beckett said. “In the second half we panicked a little as the game got close. Their closing speed on defense kept us from making the big plays. We were moving the chains a couple of times, but stopped ourselves with penalties.”
Hubbard’s last score came on 21-yard interception return with 2:31 left in the fourth quarter. The two-point run also failed.
Collinsville kept fighting to the end with the Panthers’ final touchdown coming on a 11-yard touchdown pass to Bradford from C.J. Jones with just 18 seconds left on the clock.
Collinsville lined up for a kick, but went to a fake and Hernandez hauled in a pass from Jones to make the final score 18-15.
Hubbard limited Collinsville’s offense on the night. The Panthers managed just 149 yards on the ground and only 27 in the air.
Bradford led the Panthers with 10 carries for 85 yards. Justin Little also chipped in 39-yards on six carries.
Jones went 10 of 23 passing for 127 yards but also threw two interceptions on the night.
Bradford also caught four passes for 69 yards, followed by Padilla and Brady Osborn with one catch for 18 yards.
“The seniors are a special group,” Beckett said. “They did a fabulous job. They’re just special. In three years, they’ve won 28 games. No other Collinsville group has ever done that. In three years, I think nobody had more than 26 wins.”