Coach Rick Reinhart and his Collinsville Kahoks finally witnessed a shift in momentum last week when they whipped host Granite City 33-7 for win No. 1 of the season.
The Kahoks, in their first season under Reinhart, will try to build off the accomplishment Friday when they play host to the Alton Redbirds in their homecoming game.
“To say that our practices were a little more spirited this week is an understatement,” Reinhart said. “It’s great to get a win. It’s great for those kids to get that (losing streak) off their back. Hopefully, we can continue to get better every week. That’s the main thing.”
Reinhart doesn’t like losing, but he can accept it if the Kahoks are playing at maximum capacity. That’s something he has been emphasizing to his players since the preseason.
“Just because you may not win the game, if you played your best, that’s something to build on,” Reinhart said. “You’ve got to prepare like you’re playing Tarzan and hope Jane shows up. It’s like, ‘What are you doing to get better?’ and ‘Are you doing your best?’”
Alton’s hunger for a victory might exceed Collinsville’s. The Redbirds, under first-year coach Eric Dickerson, remain winless and have allowed at least 35 points in every game.
“Collinsville’s got a good team,” Dickerson said. “They’re aggressive up front and they’ve got a good quarterback. I think it’s going to come down to what team can execute the best and who wants it more. We’re looking for somebody to step up and make that big play to kind of get that momentum going our way.”
Friday’s game: Alton (0-5 overall, 0-3 in the Southwestern Conference) at Collinsville (1-4, 1-2), 7 p.m.
Last week: Collinsville defeated Granite City 33-7. Alton lost to visiting O’Fallon 42-7.
Last meeting: Alton defeated the Kahoks 29-6 on Oct. 17, 2014, in Alton.
Scouting the Kahoks
Junior Max Lyons has rushed for 220 yards and five touchdowns. Senior quarterback Jordan Reichert is 22-for-54 for 289 yards and two TDs. The Kahoks revamped their entire offensive line against Granite City and Reinhart was pleased with the results as Collinsville dominated time of possession and kept its defense fresh. Senior Tanner Hails has been the Kahoks’ best offensive lineman.
Dickerson said facing the Kahoks’ offense will provide yet another test.
“Our defense is improving, but we’re still giving up a lot of points,” Dickerson said. “If that’s the way (the game) is going to go, our offense is going to have to kick into gear and keep up. I do think it’s going to be a battle. It could be a 10-7 game; it could be a 35-28 game. ... Running the ball, controlling the clock and playing good defense is a formula for success. We’re still working on that formula, though. We haven’t given up. The kids haven’t, either.”
Scouting the Redbirds
Like Collinsville, Alton relies primarily on a running attack led by senior Jameyon Alexander (246 yards, one TD) and Asa Collins (196 yards, four TDs). Senior quarterback Keenan Stegall has thrown for 116 yards and rushed for 138 yards. Senior Zach Llewellyn is a force in the trenches on both sides of the ball and will regularly match up against Hails.
“Like always, they’ve got great speed,” Reinhart said of the Redbirds. “The quarterback runs the ball pretty well and they run a bunch of formations. They mix it up well. They’ve got two kids who can fly (Alexander and Collins); they can break one at any time. No. 72 (Llewellyn) is their big lineman who goes both ways, and he’s really a nice player. We’re going to have our hands full.”
Remembering ’57: The 1957 Collinsville team that went 6-0-3 under coach Vergil Fletcher will be honored in a pregame ceremony at 6:40 p.m. The team won the only SWC football championship in school history and posted four shutouts.
“There’s not a lot of them left, but man, they had a great run in their high-school careers,” Reinhart said. “I just can’t wait for our kids to meet these guys. We’re going to bring them out on the field and I hope the fans will give them a warm round of applause. That was an amazing feat for those guys.”
Among the former players attending will be Bill Ellis, Ben Urban and Bob Geaschel.