Klein Collins scores late to nip Chargers, 28-21
The day Craig Dailey fails to mention a silver lining in his post-game talk, then you’ll know the Clear Springs football team is getting close to achieving its goals.
Until that time, it’s tough for the Clear Springs head coach to talk about moral victories which he addressed following the Chargers’ 28-21 loss to talented Klein Collins Saturday at Challenger Columbia Stadium.
The Tigers used quarterback Carter Rhyne’s 5-yard touchdown run with 2:28 remaining to break a tie and claim a 28-21 win in a matchup of Greater Houston powers.
Despite the loss, Springs’ performance was a notable upgrade from last week’s 46-28 defeat to Converse Judson.
“We definitely progressed as a team,” Dailey said. “It all started with preparation. This week, the kids were dialed in at practice.
“We talked about the execution of the game plan and carrying it over to the field. Our focus was a lot better this week.”
The Chargers (0-2) never led as Klein Collins (2-0) scored on its first three possessions, building a 21-7 advantage.
Clear Springs, though, put together a 5-play, 75-yard drive near the end of the first half to pull within 21-14 with 1:25 left in the second quarter.
Key installments in that march were a 15-yard pass from quarterback Garrett Rooker to fullback Daniel Nino, and a 25-yard burst up the middle by Nino. Eventually, Rooker fired a perfect pass to Kaleb Hymes, on a 34-yard scoring play.
The Chargers then carried that momentum into the third quarter, stopping the Tigers on their first drive on an interception by junior defensive back Kirk Collins.
That set up a 9-play, 59-yard touchdown drive for Springs to tie the game at 21.
A 29-yard run by Hymes gave the Chargers a first down at the Klein Collins 28, and consecutive 5-yard runs from Hudson and Rooker moved the ball to the 18.
From there, Charger senior running back Todd Hudson did the rest, carrying four straight times. His final tote covered four yards, and with Evan Mason’s PAT kick, the teams were knotted at 21 with 5:57 left in the third quarter.
The Clear Springs defense then rose to the occasion, stopping Klein Collins’ bullish attack behind a massive offensive line, on three straight occasions.
However, the Charger offense could manage just one first down the next three times it had the ball.
“(Klein Collins) kind of did a couple of different scheme things to us in the first half,” Dailey said. “Our defensive staff did a great job of making adjustments.
“But we can’t give up the big play. That’s what we talk about all the time. Our secondary, cornerbacks…that’s one position where somebody has to step up. We haven’t had that happen in two weeks.”
On two of the Tigers’ four scoring drives, Rhyne hit deep routes of 39 yards to senior wide receiver Alex Brown and 45 yards to junior Tre’Veon Petty.
The latter pass play set up Rhyne’s game-winning run two plays later.
On another occasion, Rhyne connected with Josh Cordova on a 56-yard play, but eventually the Charger defense held on that drive.
“On play-action, they threw deep, and we didn’t defend that well,” Dailey said. “If we had, we probably would have won this ballgame.”
There were only two possessions in the opening quarter as each team fashioned 13-play scoring drives.
Klein Collins running back Isaiah Spiller scored the first of his three touchdowns from 10 yards.
Springs countered with a 22-yard Rooker-to-Isaiah Bibb touchdown pass on the first play of the second quarter.
Spiller would later score on runs of two and three yards in staking the Tigers to their 21-7 edge.
“We just have to keep working on getting more physical,” Dailey said. “We were more physical this week than last week, but we’ve got to be the team that wears other teams down.
“Offensively, we have to be able to run the ball when we need to. The defense got us the ball, but we just couldn’t put the ball in (the end zone) but once (in the second half). That’s on me as play-caller.”
Spiller gained 113 yards on 28 carries while Hudson led the Chargers with 72 yards on 22 attempts.
“Todd runs hard,” Dailey said. “It’s always going to be hard to bring him down the first time.
“In the second half, we didn’t cut the backside of their defense off very well. We had creases, but their back side was running us down.”
Klein Collins finished with 380 total yards to 247 for Clear Springs. The Chargers managed to stay within striking distance by not committing a turnover.