There’s more to the Dutchtown football team than Landon Collins.
The senior safety-running back made way for junior Antoine Magras, who rushed 15 times for 109 yards and two touchdowns in the Griffins’ 42-6 win against Catholic at Olympia Stadium on Friday.
“Landon’s special, and I’m not going to deny that, but we don’t want to be dependent on him to make plays,” said Griffins coach Benny Saia.
“I thought our offensive line played well and we ran and caught the ball well, and that’s what you have to do to make a run in the playoffs.”
The No. 2 Griffins (10-0, 5-0) completed their second straight undefeated regular season and claimed the District 5-5A title after building a 28-0 halftime lead. The Griffins rushed for 380 yards and outgained the Bears 485-211.
Quarterback Mason Nickens passed for 105 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 87 yards, including a 70-yard touchdown run.
Running back Khalil Thomas led the Bears (3-7, 3-2) with 86 rushing yards. Quarterback Nick Coomes finished 7-for-13 passing with 61 yards with one touchdown and an interception.
The Bears opened the second half with an eight-play, 73-yard touchdown drive capped by a 27-yard pass from quarterback Coomes to Shelby Christy that made the score 28-6. CHS forced a three-and-out and drove 10 plays to the DHS 3-yard line.
But penalties for an illegal shift and holding forced the Bears into fourth-and-goal from the 10-yard line. Collins batted away Coomes’ fourth-down pass to force the turnover on downs.
“Nick ran a play because he thought the ball had been spotted a couple of times and obviously it wasn’t, which was unfortunate,” said CHS coach Dale Weiner. “But I’m so proud to be associated with these kids. They’re made of the right stuff.”
On the ensuing drive, Collins rushed for 76 yards in two plays and completed a 91-yard scoring drive with a 7-yard run to put Dutchtown ahead 35-6. After two carries in the first half, Collins finished with 108 yards and two touchdowns on six carries.
“Landon deserves all the publicity, but Dutchtown truly is a complete team,” Weiner said.
The Griffins showcased their prowess on both sides of the ball in the first half, converting 16 first downs and limiting the Bears to one first down that came courtesy of facemask penalty against DHS.
“We stopped the run and forced them to throw, and they don’t want to operate like that,” Saia said. “Hopefully that’s something we can build on.”
On the Griffins’ opening drive, Nickens scrambled to his left away from pressure on third-and-long and raced down the sideline for a 50-yard touchdown.
After a three-and-out Magras rushed for two first downs before the Bears forced a fourth-and-2 at the CHS 22-yard line. Collins stretched the handoff to the outside and raced away from the defense for a touchdown .
Nickens increased the DHS lead to 21-0 on the first play of the second quarter when he found Shelby Christy in the back of the end zone for a 27-yard touchdown pass.
An interception set up an eight-play scoring drive for the Griffins, who turned to Magras on a 1-yard touchdown run that gave Dutchtown a 28-0 advantage.