OHATCHEE — Ohatchee has missed its starting quarterback for weeks and missed him more for much of its second-round playoff game Friday night. Collinsville will miss Kaleb Jones when these playoffs end.
Jones threw two touchdown passes and ran for another score, and Class 2A third-ranked Collinsville held off No. 2 Ohatchee’s last-gasp drive to reach the quarterfinals 21-14 on the Creekbank.
Collinsville (11-1) will host North Sand Mountain in next week’s quarterfinals, with the winner likely to face top-ranked and defending state champion Fyffe in the semifinals.
Ohatchee, a team many pointed toward a rematch with Fyffe after their quarterfinal game in 2018, finished (10-1).
“I’m disappointed,” said dejected Ohatchee senior running back Domonique Thomas, who rushed for 192 yards and a score in his final high school game. “I don’t know. That’s about it.”
Jones was the difference maker for Collinsville. The dual-threat quarterback with an offer from the U.S. Naval Academy rushed 25 times for 145 yards, including a 1-yard touchdown sneak, and hit on 8 of 11 passes for 89 yards, including touchdown passes of 12 yards to Michael Tucker and 9 yards to Marshall Hughes.
Jones did it despite spraining an ankle in the third quarter. He got it taped and finished.
“He’s a good player,” Collinsville coach Ernie Willingham said. “We just saddled him up and rode him.”
Jones showed grit late in the second quarter, shaking loose from two Ohatchee defenders then throwing 16 yards to Jacob Jones, down the Ohatchee 16-yard line. After a defensive-holding call wiped out Eli Ennis’ end-zone interception, Kaleb Jones found Tucker to tie the game 7-7 with 9.8 seconds left in the half.
Kaleb Jones’ 30-yard completion to Jacob Jones set up Kaleb Jones’ sneak to make it 14-7 at 19.8 seconds in the third quarter, and a 38-yard keeper set up Kaleb Jones’ go-ahead touchdown pass to Hughes with 4:21 to play.
“You have to give 12 all of the props in the world,” Ohatchee coach Scott Martin said. “He is come kind of football player back there at quarterback.”
Ohatchee had to go patchwork at quarterback, and it showed.
Ennis, who brings a critical third running threat to Ohatchee’s “Ugly Eagle” offense, suffered a broken thumb in the second-to-last regular-season game against Gaston. He didn’t play in the regular-season finale against Pleasant Valley and stuck to defense in a first-round rout of Southeastern-Blount.
Cam Foushee, more of a traditional passer, started Friday’s game and lobbed a 32-yard touchdown pass to Ryker Lambright for the game’s first score, at 3:53 of the second quarter.
After Collinsville went up 14-7, it became clear that Ohatchee needed Ennis’ running threat to counter Collinsville’s Thomas-centered defensive scheme.
“Eli takes some eyes off of me,” Thomas said.
Ennis quarterbacked most of an 85-yard, game-tying drive, which ended with Thomas’ 1-yard plunge at 7:15 of the fourth quarter.
Kaleb Jones answered with his go-ahead touchdown pass to Hughes at 4:21, and Ennis alternated situationally with Foushee on Ohatchee’s last drive. Foushee’s 30-yard pass to Cade Williamson got Ohatchee to the Collinsville 32.
Ennis came back in to lead Ohatchee to first down at the 22, but time ran short for a run-centered offense. Facing first-and-goal at the 10 with 18.9 seconds to play, Ohatchee had to pass.
Foushee spiked the ball to kill the clock then threw two pressured incompletions to set up fourth down. Ennis came on, and a snap mishap doomed the Indians.
“We started running out of time, and, obviously, we want to run the football,” Martin said. “At the same time, a couple of the things that we ended up using throwing-wise, I had to use early and not in the field position than I wanted to use it in.”