Collinsville captains aim for playoff berth
August 22, 2012By Chris Kusnerick of Collinsville High School
Earning a playoff berth in the rugged Southwestern Conference is tough for any team, but when you lose your first two games before even getting to the SWC portion of the schedule, the task becomes nearly impossible.
After starting last year with non-conference losses to Althoff and Triad, Collinsville took an 0-2 record into conference play. The Kahoks won their next two games against Alton and Belleville West, but lost four of their last five games.
“This year, if we come out hard and play smart like we’ve been doing all summer, we can win those first two games and we’ll be in a lot better shape for the first conference game,” said senior Quieron King, one of four team captains for Collinsville.
“Coming out and getting two wins outside of the conference is really important,” added senior Nick Reichert, another captain. “It sets the tone for conference play.”
Along with fellow captains Drew Pikey and Henry Weinreich, the captains are confident that the Kahoks will come out of the gate strong in 2012.
“We lost some key seniors, but some other people are stepping up,” Pikey said. “We don’t have many stars, but we’ve set our goals really high.”
Collinsville will have a new look on offense this year and Pikey, as the most experienced offensive lineman, is anxious to see what the Kahoks can do.
“We’ve implemented a tight end and a fullback and as always, we need to block hard,” Pikey said. “We’re an in-your-face kind of blocking team, so nothing really changes there. Now that I’m at right guard instead of center, I’m going to pull a lot and we have a couple of plays set up where they can utilize me there.”
The 6-foot-5 Pikey welcomes the position switch.
“It’s going to help me,” Pikey said. “At center, you worry about the snap first and I’m a good snapper, but I probably won’t play center in college. I’m not the right body type.
“I’m a lot bigger and stronger than last year (when he weighed 245). I got up to 292, but I’m back down to 275, which is good weight for me. I’m fit and in shape and I’m getting better.”
Pikey is drawing interest from several colleges.
“I’m academically focused, but I want to play football in college,” said Pikey, who attended seven camps this summer. “I’m very interested in football schools with high academic programs.”
Scoring more points is among the primary goals for Collinsville. Last season the Kahoks broke the 20-point barrier only two times, and only once did they score than 30, in a 32-20 victory over Belleville East in week eight.
“We have a better offense this year and that’s going to make a difference,” Weinreich said. “We may not have as much talent, but we have a good work ethic.”
On defense, linebacker figures to be a strength with three captains at that position. Those players realize that they’re expected to be leaders, whether in games or on the practice field.
“The linebackers are the heart of the defense,” Weinreich said. “We’ve got to help the other guys and make sure they’re doing the right things.”
“We’re the ones that people look up to because everything starts with us,” Reichert said. “If we’re not doing our jobs, nobody else will do theirs.”
The No. 1 goal for Collinsville is making the playoffs.
“Collinsville has qualified only three times and never won a game,” Reichert said. “It would be nice to win one for the first time. To do that, we’ve got to be able to finish games.”
“I started on a playoff team two years ago and I know what it takes,” Pikey said. “Every little play matters and you can’t let big breakaway plays happen.”