West Lauderdale knocked out of playoffs
By By Austin Bishop/EMG regional sports director
November 15, 2003
COLLINS When it came down to it, Collins High School made the plays when it needed to in the Tigers 25-6 win over West Lauderdale on Friday night.
And to be exact, it was senior quarterback Corey McLaurin making most of those plays as the homestanding Tigers scored 13 fourth-quarter points to take the win in the second round of the MHSAA Class 3A playoffs.
McLaurin scored three touchdowns and rushed for 146 yards on 17 carries. It was his last touchdown run that made the difference for the Tigers.
Trailing 12-6 early in the fourth quarter, the Knights recovered a fumble in Collins territory and appeared to have the momentum.
Three plays into the drive West Lauderdale turned the ball over on a fumble and two plays later McLaurin ripped off a 56-yard touchdown run that hurt the Knights' chances of a comeback.
Collins held a 12-0 lead at the half, thanks to touchdown runs of 1 and 4 yards by McLaurin, but West Lauderdale cut it to 12-6 on the Knights' first possession of the second half thanks to an 8-yard touchdown pass from Michael Pogue to Christian Trussell.
With 8:42 to go in the game West Lauderdale recovered a Collins fumble at the Tigers' 38-yard line and the momentum seemed to shift to the visiting Knights.
But three plays later Collins recovered a WL fumble. Two plays later McLaurin faked a pitch, kept the ball and broke loose on a 56-yard touchdown run to put the winners up by two touchdowns and all but seal the win for the two-time defending state champions.
The extra point by Joe Keys put Collins up 19-7 with 7:05 left in the game.
Collins' Don Magee put an exclamation point on the win for the Tigers when he picked off a pass and returned it 33 yards for a touchdown with 5:51 left.
The homestanding Tigers took a 6-0 lead with 4:15 left in the first quarter when they moved the ball 47 yards on six plays to score on a 1-yard run by McLaurin. The kick attempt failed.
It appeared that the Tigers would just lead by just six points at the half, until Collins recovered a fumble and returned it 25 yards to the West Lauderdale 20-yard line with 1:11 to play in the second quarter.
Three plays later McLaurin scored on a 4-yard quarterback keeper. The two-point conversion failed and the Tigers led 12-0 with 37 seconds left in the half.
WL opened the third quarter with its best drive of the game, moving the ball 73 yards on 12 plays to score on the fourth-down pass from Pogue to Trussell.
Despite being down 12-0 at the half, McCain said he felt his team still had a chance to win.
The Tigers were playing without head coach Bruce Merchant, who had two stents put in arteries leading to his heart on Thursday. He watched some of the game from his truck in a parking lot high above the North endzone of Jack Bailey Field.
Collins, 11-1, visits Greene County on Friday night in the Class 3A South State semifinals, while West Lauderdale ends its season at 9-3.