Once again, a defensive breakdown was the difference between winning and losing for the Collinsville Kahoks.
Triad senior Adam Nelson scored on an 81-yard touchdown run with 2:51 to play in the fourth quarter Friday, and junior Collin Black’s ensuing PAT gave the Knights a 21-20 win over the Kahoks in a nonconference game.
Nelson found daylight on the left side, got key blocks from junior Tom Kraudel and senior Steven Evanoff and race untouched into the end zone.
“I saw an open field and I was like, ‘I’ve got to house this,’” said Nelson, who also scored on TD runs of 46 yards and 4 yards. “We had to win this game. We had to. We just had to get (Collinsville) tired, and once that happened, our (offensive) line came through, definitely.”
After Nelson’s score, the Knights (2-0) turned it over to their defense, and senior Clayton Nickerson delivered with consecutive sacks of Collinsville senior quarterback Jordan Reichert, pushing Collinsville from its 32-yard line to its 13.
Collinsville coach Rick Reinhart saw his team collapse in the final moments of a game for the second straight week. Althoff scored late on a fourth-down play to beat the Kahoks (0-2) on Aug. 28.
“This was worse,” Reinhart said. “We just did not execute. Defensively, I have no complaints. If you can’t score more than 21 points, you don’t deserve to win.”
KEY MOMENT: Collinsville led 20-14 on Reichert’s 1-yard TD run with 10:35 to play, but the PAT failed. It wound up being the difference in the outcome.
The Kahoks had the ball twice after Reichert’s score, with an opportunity to put away the game. But both times, their offense was forced to punt. The Knights made Collinsville pay after the second punt, as Nelson scored on the first play from scrimmage.
KEY PERFORMERS: Nelson was the standout performer. He finished with 21 carries for 234 yards and three TDs, boosting his season totals 35 carries for 434 yards and seven TDs.
Collinsville received a strong game from junior wideout Rhett Romanik, who had an 83-yard TD catch from Reichert on the first play of the game and a 27-yard catch from Reichert that set up Reichert’s go-ahead TD early in the fourth quarter.
Nickerson had a solid game at defensive end for Triad, and Collinsville senior Trevore Sanders blocked a 50-yard field-goal attempt, made the recovery and scored from 50 yards out to end the second half, bringing the Kahoks into a 14-14 tie at the break.
TRIAD COACH PAUL BASSLER: “I can’t say enough about our defense. Our defense really won that football game for us. They were a very athletic team. Adam broke their heart. What a game. That was a better Collinsville football team.”
MORE FROM REINHART: “If you don’t play disciplined, (Nelson) is going to break it. We played with great discipline until one play. Unfortunately, on that one play, you’re not going to catch him from behind. It was just a great run.”
SCORING: C-Romanik 83 pass from Reichert (Cook kick); T-Nelson 46 run (Black kick); T-Nelson 4 run (Black kick); C-Sanders 50 return of blocked field goal (Cook kick); C-Reichert 1 run (kick failed); T-Nelson 81 run (Black kick).
UP NEXT: Triad will play at Mount Vernon at 7 p.m. Friday. Collinsville will open Southwestern Conference play at Edwardsville at 7 p.m. Friday.