Triad High coach Paul Bassler reveled in a rare season-opening victory Friday when the Knights ripped Mattoon 54-30.
"We beat Althoff one time, we beat Chatham Glenwood once and we beat Normandy once," said Bassler, not known for scheduling cream puffs in the Knights' openers. "So in my 17 years, I think we've only won four first games."
Understandably, the Knights are charged about an opportunity to improve to 2-0. But Bassler expects a 7 p.m. home game against Collinsville to be a challenge. The Kahoks (0-1) are coming off a 34-14 loss to Althoff.
"They're bigger than us, they have more kids, they're faster than us, they play in the Southwestern Conference, we play in the Mississippi Valley Conference," Bassler said. "It will be a good game. It will be a tough game for us."
Collinsville coach John Blaylock is wary of the Knights after learning they erupted for 483 yards rushing against Mattoon.
"We're expecting a good game," Blaylock said. "Coach Bassler does what he does and does it very well. They've got a good tradition up there. It's two relatively similar offenses. Physically and athletically, it will be a good matchup."
Friday's game: Collinsville at Triad, 7 p.m.
Last meeting: Triad defeated Collinsville 24-14 last season in Collinsville. The Knights got within 17-14 with 34.7 seconds to play, but the Kahoks' Jamal Wellmaker returned the ensuing onside kick 50 yards for the deciding touchdown.
Triple threat: Senior tailbacks Adam Nelson (10 carries, 217 yards, two TDs), Josiah Pottorff (16 carries, 125 yards) and senior quarterback Alex Crehan (19 carries, 120 yards, four TDs) overwhelmed Mattoon on the ground.
"We turned it up," Bassler said. "I was proud of our offensive line."
Can the Kahoks' control the trio?
"It's a matter of discipline," Blaylock said. "It's an absolute gap-responsibility situation. If you give up on any level of that triple-option and the quarterback knows what he's doing, you're in trouble. (Nelson) is fast and he will have to be contained, and their quarterback will have to be handled."
The Kahoks amassed 187 yards rushing against Althoff, which is expected to be among the best Class 4A teams in the state. Junior quarterback Jordan Reichert rushed for 92 yards and one TD and passed for another score.
"But we made too many mistakes to pull off a win," Blaylock said. "That's the best Althoff team I've seen. That's either a state-championship team or a semifinalist."
Improvement needed: Despite their one-sided victory, the Knights know they must improve.
"We want to get better from week one to week two and I want to see improvement on film," Bassler said. "If we can play better than we did last week and we still come up short, I feel like mission accomplished. You want to get a win. But I'm looking for improvement, especially early in the nonconference schedule."