By Joe Gisondi
Collinsville took an early 21-0 lead, but Charleston could not ever get closer than 14 the rest of the game en route to a 35-14 loss Friday night at Trojan Hill. The Trojans, though, did have several moments they can build on going forward. Here are four takeaways from the game.
The quarterback connection. Luke Bonnstetter caught two passes for touchdowns from CHS quarterback Brett Spour for the second consecutive game. Bonnstetter, a sophomore QB for the Trojans’ undefeated JV team, caught a 13-yard pass in the left corner of the end zone with 3:47 left in the first half to make it 28-7. Spour fired a pass that enabled Bonnstetter to stay a step ahead of a defender and to catch the ball with outstretched hands while his body fell toward the sideline, his feet barely touching the end zone.
“He has a way of getting me the ball,” Bonnstetter said. “I didn’t even think I was in (bounds). Then I looked up and the official said touchdown. So I said, ‘Oh, OK.'”
The two again connected in the fourth quarter. On third-and-goal from the 3-yard-line, Bonnstetter raced across the left side of the end zone, enabling Spour to fire a pass right into his hands to make it 28-14 with 4:48 left in the game.
Bonnstetter had hauled in TDs of 40 and 27 yards against Effingham a week earlier. They have combined for 10 receptions and 135 yards the past two weeks.
Second-quarter fumbles proved costly. Ahead 14-0, Collinsville picked up a CHS fumble at the 33-yard-line and returned it to the 11-yard-line. Two plays later, Collinsville scored to go ahead 20-0.
CHS fumbled again on its ensuing possession. Charleston’s Langdon King caught a short pass that he turned into a 38-yard gain, the Trojans’ longest play and first first down, that moved the ball to Collinsville’s 43-yard line – the first time CHS had moved across midfield. A fumble on the following play, though, halted that rally, and it nearly resulted in another TD for the Cardinals. But an incomplete pass on fourth-and-goal from the 3-yard-line ended that threat.
“We’ve go to control the ball,” Charleston coach Jerry Payne said. “We didn’t throw a pick tonight, but a couple of fumbles really hurt us when we were in some pretty good drives.”
An odd change of possession. Ahead 28-7 at the start of the fourth quarter, Collinsville decided to try for a first down even though it was fourth-and-2 on its own 17-yard-line. Several CHS defenders, subsequently, swarmed the line of scrimmage to halt any progress and gave CHS the ball at the 12. But CHS could not punch it in for a score, ending its drive on its own failed fourth-and-2 from the 4-yard line when Collinsville swarmed to shut down a running play.
The drive. While not as decisive or significant as the more famous NFL touchdown drive, Charleston proved that it could patiently move the chains for an extended period. In this case, the Trojans drove 97 yards on 13 plays in the second quarter, capped by a 13-yard pass from Spour to Bonnstetter with 1:14 left in the half that made it 21-7. The drive featured four plays of 10-plus yards, as well as balance – five running plays, five passing plays, two penalties and a fumble, which was recovered for a three-yard loss.
CHS also had to overcome a first-and-25 early in the drive, which required three plays that included passes of 10 and 8 yards.
“I turned to the coaches on the sidelines and said, ‘Dudes, I don’t have a first-and-25 play. And one coach said, ‘You just gotta get 10 yards right now,” said Payne. “So we thought small and started with some short, choppy passes to see if we could get those 10 yards. As we kept going, the momentum came and we kept fighting.”
CHS: Langdon King 7-30; Brett Spour 13-18; Aiden Archibald 4-12; Malik Perry 1-4; Jeremiah Hayes 3-0
Collinville: Jerry Richardson 16-80; Kolby Anderson 7-65 3 TD; Ethan Bagwell 16-63 1 TD
CHS: Brett Spour 11-12 161 2 TD
Collinsville: Ethan Bagwell 11-28 163 1 TD
CHS: Langdon King 2-67; Luke Bonstetter 4-36 2 TD; Chet Shrader 2-32; Luke Nelson 2-20
Collinsville: Colby Anderson 5-52; Jerry Richardson 2-35; Ryan McIntyre 1-32; Kylin Jordan 3-23; Darren Pennell 1-22 1 TD