The rise to fame has been epic for Collins. In just their third year of existence the Titans find themselves in that state title game against the real titans – Highlands. Head coach Jerry Lucas has guided the school to a 33-8 overall record since its inception. Win number 34 could be the sweetest and most memorable of them all.
Highlands is looking to build upon its history in the Commonwealth. The Bluebirds soar and have left little doubt over the past five years in Week 15 as to who is the dominant force in Class 3A and now 4A. It has been a take no prisoners’ week for the troops from Forth Thomas and stopping their momentum is going to be a huge test for what Collins aspires to have.
COLLINS TITANS (11-3) vs. HIGHLANDS BLUEBIRDS (14-0)
Site: Houchens/LT Smith Stadium, Feix Field (Western Kentucky University)
Kickoff: Friday, Nov. 30 at 7 p.m.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: The catalyst for Highlands is quarterback Donovan McCoy. The senior has accounted for 50 touchdowns (30 passing and 20 rushing) and 3,655 yards of total offense (2,616 passing and 1,039 rushing). Running back Zach Harris has run for another 905 yards and 18 scores. The backfield depth doesn’t stop there as Jaylen Hayes and Colin Seidl have combined for another 1,011 yards on the ground and 19 more touchdowns. Luke Turner leads a bevy of receivers with 795 yards on 38 receptions. The defense has seen Thomas Wroblesi and Seth Hope set the pressure points, combining for 12.5 sacks on the season.
Dual threat Deandre Farris is a handful for Collins. Farris has run for 937 yards while catching 60 passes for 973 more and 30 total touchdowns (17 rushing & 13 receiving). Quarterback Lawson Page is every bit the equal of McCoy. Page has thrown 2,825 yards and 36 touchdowns through the air with another 730 on the ground and five more scores. Nathan Sames is tops on the Titans with 62 receptions for 994 yards and 16 scoring catches. Masai Whyte is averaging more than 12 tackles per contest for the Collins defense. He also has 10 rushing touchdowns. Landon Forrest and Sames are also major factors on this side of the ball for the Titans. The future is bright for Collins as every one of the players mentions are juniors.
TEAM TRENDS: Highlands is looking for a record-tying sixth consecutive state championship and 22nd overall (a mark that will also be tops in Kentucky history as Trinity can hit that number as well on Saturday night). Collins has given up 145 points in their three losses and that is not a good sign versus a Bluebirds team that is putting up 52.4 per contest. The Titans can put points on the boards as well, averaging about 40 a game.
COLLINS’ KEYS TO VICTORY: The best defense will be a good offense for Collins. Keeping the high-powered Highlands squad off the field with ball control and clock management will keep the Titans in the game much longer. The one thing the boys from Shelbyville want to avoid is thinking they can get into a scoring fest with the Bluebirds. That formula has failed them three times this season.
HIGHLANDS’ KEYS TO VICTORY: Offensive balance has been a big part of the Bluebirds great season. In the postseason Highlands is putting up 260 yards rushing and 212 passing per game through four playoff tilts. Head coach Dale Mueller has so many weapons to choose from that opposing staffs pull their hair out trying to game plan corralling just one of those options. The luxury will benefit them heavily.
PREDICTION: HIGHLANDS 49, COLLINS 17
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