Rushing attacks on display as Collinsville plays host to Madison County rival Triad

News-DemocratSeptember 5, 2013 

Triad and Collinsville are hungry for a win after both failed to protect fourth-quarter leads in season-opening losses last week.

The Knights, who lost 36-33 to Mattoon, will visit Collinsville, which fell 23-21 to Althoff, at 7 p.m. Friday. The teams combined for 791 rushing yards last week --428 by the Kahoks, 363 by Triad.

"I expect a very physical football game," first-year Collinsville coach John Blaylock said. "It could end up being a defensive battle. I think the team that can throw the ball a little bit. ... That might be the difference-maker."

To put Collinsville's rushing attack in perspective, the Kahoks rushed for 558 yards all of last season.

"They have enough numbers now where they're two-platooning and kids aren't going both ways," Triad coach Paul Bassler said. "Their junior, sophomore and freshman classes, they have really good athletes in those classes."

Friday's game: Triad (0-1) at Collinsville (0-1), 7 p.m.

Last meeting: Triad defeated the Kahoks 43-33 last year in Troy behind five touchdowns by Trevor Medved. The game was delayed by lightning for 1 hour, 20 minutes.

Mirror images: Both teams run an option offense, with an emphasis on controlling the ball and the clock, while maintaining an ability to be dangerous through the air. Bassler described the Kahoks as the "Triad of the West," suggesting Collinsville's offense emulates what the Knights are doing. Blaylock said it's a return to the offense the Kahoks had from 1994-96 under coach John Jackson. "I'm going to call them the 'Collinsville East,'" Blaylock cracked. "We are very similar. The beauty of the offense that we both run is you're able to highlight different portions of the offense, depending on your talent, and you don't have to change your playbook."

The ground-gainers: Senior quarterback Jason Barbour led the Knights' running game with 23 carries for 191 yards and two touchdowns against Mattoon. Collinsville got 170 yards from junior Jamal Wellmaker, 158 from junior Jordan Miller and 85 from junior Devin Burch. Each scored one touchdown. "When you're rushing for 7 yards a carry, as a coach, you don't feel compelled to throw the ball much," Blaylock said in reference to junior quarterback Connor Zabala throwing just eight passes, with one completion.

Notes: Bassler said Triad's tackling and special-teams play must improve greatly. "You've got to win two of the three phases, and we just didn't do a good job defensively or on special teams," Bassler said. ... Knights senior defensive end Caleb North is likely sidelined for the game with a foot injury. ... For the third consecutive year, the teams are 0-1 entering their game against one another. ... The Knights have won seven of the last nine games in the series.

Contact reporter David Wilhelm at dwilhelm@bnd.com or 239-2665.

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