Rain, cold rain, and windy rain was the forecast for Friday night when the Collinwood High School Trojans traveled to Bruceton to take on the Tigers. In the football movie “The Replacements,” Gene Hackman’s character tells Keanu Reeves’ character, that “it is nasty out there.” He could have been talking about the weather on Friday night, for sure. Keanu Reeves’ character responds with, “That’s why girls don’t play the game.” Keanu could not have been more wrong because we have one of those and she, Gabby Ubieta, made an impact on the opening kickoff as she executed a perfect onside kick to an unsuspecting Tiger front line. The Trojans stole the opening possession from Bruceton and marched down the field, but missed a long, wet, and windy field goal attempt. Our girl was able to use her leg to steal another onside kick later in the game. If you want to keep an offense from scoring, you simply don’t give them the ball was the strategy going into the game and it worked perfectly, because in Collinwood, girls do play the game!
Bructeton was able to wade their way across the goal line first after trading out possessions, when they plunged into the end zone from 11 yards out as the 2nd quarter started. The extra point attempt was snuffed out and this would mark the first and last time Bruceton found the end zone for the remainder of the night. Collinwood answered on their next possession as Joe Houston Thompson broke loose off the right tackle for a touchdown run of 29 yards. Ubieta added the extra point, then got the ball back in Trojan hands on the following kickoff attempt.
The Trojan defense was impressive on the night, only giving up 169 yards of total offense and the one lone score in the 2nd quarter. In a game played in a monsoon, offense is often hard to muster, so whoever’s defense plays better will win the game. Bruceton only held the ball for 16 minutes as Collinwood methodically moved the ball and kept the Bruceton rushing attack waiting in the rain on their own sideline. There were many defensive stars on the night for the Trojans. Joe Houston Thompson led all tacklers with 14, two of those being for a loss, and his last tackle of the night causing a game sealing victory, because the impact caused the ball to float across the field. Noah Sanderson had another stellar night, adding 10 tackles, two being for a loss and also recovered one of the onside kicks. Rouge Holt matched Sanderson’s tackling production with 10, one of those being for a loss. Dalton Chastain came up from his cornerback position, sealing the edge all night and tallying 7 tackles of his own and also forcing a fumble. Jake Morris was a sack machine, notching 2 on the night to go with his 6 tackles. The Trojan defense not only stymied the Tiger offense, but also sealed the victory on the last play of the game. The Trojans were holding on to the 7-6 lead, with 4 seconds remaining in the 4th quarter. Bruceton had the ball on their own 43 yard line, with 4th down showing on the yard marker. Bruceton had a chance to win the hard fought defensive battle, but would need to score from 57 yards out, so the Trojan defense would have to be ready for anything. The quarterback calls for the ball as the clock begins to tick the final 4 seconds off the clock. Bruceton is trying to set up an unorthodox passing play to steal the win on the last play of the game. Every fan is on their feet, waiting to see how the final play will end. Joe Houston Thompson broke through the line from his defensive end position and has the quarterback in his arms before the play can develop. The impact pops the ball to the wet turf. Cooper Vandiver, coming on a stunt from the opposite end had already had a huge impact on defense throughout the night, tallying 5 tackles, causing a fumble, and recovering an earlier fumble; scoops up the ball on the 33 yard line and rumbles into the end zone, sealing the Trojan Victory! Trojans win 13-6 on an improbable but statement making last play of the night.
The Trojans travel to Waynesboro next to take on the Wildcats. In this game, records really do not matter. We have had a love/dislike relationship with the team from the north for generations. We have celebrated successes together as a county, mourned together as communities, yet form strong alliances with only our team’s colors when we meet on fields or courts of play. We always wish the very best, but publically strive to win every contest we play against one another. Wildcats, I would wish nothing more than to see you play your absolute best game on Friday night and for our Trojans to play our very best as well. We look forward to another contest with our most favorite opponent. Play Hard, WCHS and CHS, and GO TROJANS!—Submitted