Back-to-back victories have been uncommon for the Collinsville Kahoks.
But the Kahoks turned the trick Friday with a 34-9 victory over Alton, marking the first time since 2011 that they have won consecutive games. That year, they defeated Alton and Belleville West in the third and fourth weeks.
Fueling Collinsville’s latest conquest were two seldom-seen occurrences. The Kahoks blocked a field goal and returned it for a touchdown and also had a field goal blocked that they recovered and returned for a TD.
“That was awesome,” said Collinsville coach Rick Reinhart, who celebrated his birthday Thursday. “I just can’t say enough about our special teams. They were phenomenal. They were really the difference in the game. You name it, it happened tonight.”
The victory elevated the Kahoks’ record to 2-4 overall and 2-3 in the Southwestern Conference. Alton tumbled to 0-6 and 0-4.
“They blocked a field goal and returned it for a touchdown and we blocked a field goal and they picked it up and scored a touchdown. I’ve never seen that happen in all my years,” Redbirds coach Eric Dickerson said. “Sometimes the ball doesn’t bounce your way, but you’ve got to pick up the pieces and pull it together. We had a hard time doing that tonight.”
Collinsville was leading 7-2 in the second quarter when Alton lined up for a 38-yard field goal. Senior Kameron Garcia blocked senior Nick Hatfield’s kick, which was recovered by speedy junior Trevore Sanders and returned 70 yards. The PAT made it 14-2.
“We had the right guy blocking it and the right guy to chase down. There was no doubt about that,” Reinhart said. “That was a huge play. This was the first game Trevore’s played in three weeks. He’s huge on our team, no doubt.”
After Alton made it 14-9 on a 4-yard TD pass from senior Keenan Stegall to senior Simeon Brown, Collinsville drove down the field and went for a field goal in the waning seconds of the first half. Senior Matt Cook’s 34-yard attempt was blocked, but senior Jordan Reichert, the holder and also the Kahoks quarterback, recovered and raced 20 yards for the score.
Cook’s PAT was good, building the lead to 21-9 with three seconds left in the half.
“I knew it was a live ball,” Reichert said. “I knew I had to find the ball. It bounced right in my hands and I saw a lane and took it. I was happy. We needed that score before the half. We were going to settle for three, but the touchdown really helped us out.”
Dickerson said the play was “a microcosm of our season.”
“We put a lot of effort into it and sometimes we try a little too hard to make that extra play, and we fumble or we throw an interception,” he said. “Then the opponent turns around and capitalizes on it. That’s what happens.”
Reichert finished with three touchdowns. His 3-yard run in the first quarter made it 7-0, and his 8-yard run in the fourth quarter made it 27-9. Senior Max Lyons also was a workhorse for Collinsville, rushing 11 times for 123 yards. Lyons’ 71-yard TD run late in the fourth quarter culminated the scoring and followed a fumble recovery by senior Derrion Miller.
“We were striving to get the first two wins of the season (against Althoff and Triad),” Lyons said. “We came up short, but we didn’t give up. Our offensive line has been doing great and Reichert has been phenomenal. We just went out and did what we had to do.”
Reinhart said the Kahoks’ record could be reversed had they finished the games against Althoff and Triad, both of which were lost in the late stages.
“We’ve got two wins, so we have as many wins this year as they’ve had in three or four year,” he said. “I’m happy for these kids. They work hard and they’re good kids. It’s been a while since they’ve had a nice homecoming victory and I hope they enjoy it.
“We very well could be 4-2, and probably should be. We were two plays away,” Reinhart said. “We outplayed two teams. We just let down on the long pass against Althoff and against Triad, we gave up one long run. We’re never satisfied, but I’m happy with the way the kids are staying with it.”
Alton will play host to Granite City at 7 p.m. Friday. The Kahoks will play at O’Fallon at 7 p.m. Friday.