Collinsville High School experienced one of their most successful seasons in three decades. The school’s football team slaughtered through the Oklahoma 5A schedule. The Cards started out their season with victories over 4A Oologah and 6A Bartellsville.
The team proved their dominance through ought the season after claiming District and Conference Champs this season. Collinsville faced their first challenge midway through the season against Tahlequah, or well… what was supposed to be a challenge. There were few undefeated teams left in Oklahoma 5A football, Collinsville and Tahlequah were among them. The game was insanely hyped and built up the entire leading week, but the Tigers disappointed. Collinsville completely dominated and shut out the opposing team.
Before long, fans and coaches were calling the running game “a three headed monster”. I myself take credit with coming up with that term (I used it week 2 in a Times Star news story so HA! Fox Sports it was mine not yours!) behind a Junior QB, Cole Dugger, there were three unstoppable RBs. Two of them were Seniors, Jake Tuttle and Malcolm Tillman. The other, a junior, was Braden Burd, the younger brother to CHS football Alumni, Blake Burd. Each of these RBs reached over a thousand rushing yards this season. Jake “King Tut” Tuttle, was the designated starter. Tuttle was fast and could cut and juke like a coach’s dream RB. Burd also started several games. Burd was the OX; I’m not sure if I ever saw this athletes feet stop moving. In a game against memorial, I witnessed Burd continue to run for 12 yards with a defensive linemen on his back (who happened to weigh in at 287). Tillman was the speed. Often times in the season, if a challenge arose, a team would watch film on title and Burn, but not Tillman; a costly mistake for those teams as Tillman was the one to burst through the O-line and continue on, constantly gaining speed, until he reached the end zone. Most of them hardly saw the 4th quarter until playoffs. Although, who would they be without the unstoppable front line lead by Seniors, such as Karin Cole and Nick Goldsmith. But even in the 4th quarter, Collinsville had reserved RBs who still continued to excel on the ground. Hats off to the RB coach of Collinsville to a great season.
Although the rushing game was a powerful force for the Cards, their defense was No. 1 in the State. Collinsville shut out more than half of their opponents on defense. Although the starters nearly always came off in the 4th quarter (due to such an extensive lead), the opposing team would only ever score on special teams if at all. players such as Walker Roberts and Trent Brown lead the LB/DB section of the defense. these two put the fear of God into any QB who wanted to throw the ball, but often times they had no choice. Tres Sexton and Adam Carney, “The Infamous Duo” on the D-line, racked up over 3 dozen sacks together this season. The two, each, had over 30 tackles for loss. If that doesn’t scare the hell out of a QB/RB, then I’m not sure what will.
The defense dominated, and the offense continued to progress. Collinsville obtained an undefeated season behind Coach Jones. They were ranked as the No. 2 seed behind undefeated, Carl Albert, and in from of undefeated, Ardmore. Near the end of the season and into the playoffs, we began to see Dugger’s passing skills. The QB was throwing insanely accurate for a younger athlete. Dugger completed 76% of passes this season and looks on to his Senior, 2019 season. What was impressive, was his ability to scramble and throw lighting fast passes in tight coverage. He could send the deep ball, but I normally saw him most comfortable in the play action. Dugger excelled in the playoffs. Round one and the quarterfinals were won with ease for Collinsville.
The undefeated record continued, but sadly they met the infamous Titans in the Semis Carl Albert, the Reigning State Champs, had experienced over two undefeated seasons straight. their record history in the State Semifinals was 14-0. Collinsville needed to overcome this giant for a chance to win their first football State Championship. the scoring was tight. it was the first game all season, CA was unable to score off the first drive. Put after punt, these two 5A monsters were locked in a death battle.
One could argue that Collinsville would have one if certain conditions were avoided. Star RB and LB, Braden Burd, came off the field injured in the 3rd quarter. Also, star D-lineman, Adam carney came off the field injured. The Titans then took a two touchdown lead. one could argue they might have won, but one cannot say that the Cards gave everything into this game. Adam Carney returned to the field, injured and playing. The Titans claimed their lead and eventually went on to another State Championship.
As a reporter, who spent the sidelines every Friday with this team, I have never been more impressed with the chemistry between team mates and a coaching staff. looking back, one of the memories that most sticks out from the Semifinal game was seeing Trent Brown nearly sack the QB as e strived for victory formation. I’ve never seen a player fight that hard until the very final seconds, not in NFL or college. It wasn’t’t fair for them to come so far and end up short, but I wouldn’t qualify that season as a loss. I would rather state it as arguably one of the best season Collinsville has ever had.
Collinsville now sends many Seniors to graduate. They still have many strong athletes, Burd and Dugger will both remain in the backfield. My advice as a sports enthusiast and reporter who has done this for seven years, use the passing game. Many of the receivers this season were not seniors. there is Burd to bring the rushing game, but utilize Dugger more than any other season if they want any chance at a State Title next year.