Collins' big night carries Glenbrook South past Rolling Meadows

  • PHOTO COURTESY OF MICHAEL S. DE LIOGlenbrook South senior running back Will Collins heads downfield in the Titans' 37-22 football victory at Rolling Meadows. Collins ran for 277 yards, 4 touchdowns, and intercepted a pass on defense.

    PHOTO COURTESY OF MICHAEL S. DE LIOGlenbrook South senior running back Will Collins heads downfield in the Titans' 37-22 football victory at Rolling Meadows. Collins ran for 277 yards, 4 touchdowns, and intercepted a pass on defense.

 
 
Updated 9/1/2021 5:32 PM

Will Collins, a qualifier for the state wrestling tournament the last two years for Glenbrook South, has not played football since his freshman year due to shoulder problems.

Making his comeback on Friday night at Rolling Meadows, he sure was tough running back for the hosts to grapple with.

 

Collins exploded for 252 yards and 4 touchdowns, including a 72-yard jaunt with 5:17 left that sealed the deal for the Titans in their 37-22 nonconference win.

"This feels so good," Collins said. "I love it. It's my favorite sport by far and to be able to play it with these guys and win our opening game, feels amazing. Most of the time away, I've dealt with the same injury so all I could think about was coming out for my senior year."

He came out in a big way, scoring the game's first TD with a 5-yard run less than five minutes into action.

Meadows tied it at 7-7 on a 74-yard pass from junior quarterback Evan Grace to senior Ethan Groark on the very next play but the Titans took the lead for good on a safety with 4:03 left in the second quarter. That was followed by Etor Agbenya's 9-yard TD run set up by Matt Burda's 50-yard plus return on the kickoff following the safety.

"Will Collins obviously had a great night," said South coach Dave Shoenwetter. "He did a terrific job. He's a terrific wrestler and he had a great performance on the football field this evening. I thought (senior quarterback) Nic Swanson did a terrific job, too. He threw a comeback route (to Carmelo Livatino during a key fourth quarter drive) when we really needed it and got a first down for us."

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The offense, which also received 67 rushing yards from Matt Burda and 54 yards from Agbenya, benefitted from linemen Drew Duffy, Danny Leibrandt, Nick Brattleaf, Johnny Rolfes, Chris Fish and tight end Jack Disano.

Collins and teammate Tommy MacPherson also had interceptions.

"Dave does a great job at GBS," said Meadows coach Sam Baker. "I was very concerned about the physicality of this game. They had some nice misdirection going on and they were more physical than us.

"We talked about how the first game comes down to turnovers and penalties. And we had close to 10 penalties and 4 turnovers. You're not going to win games when you do that."

Groark caught 8 passes for 180 yards, including 74 and a 52-yard TDs. Grace also tossed a 9-yard TD pass to Stephen Schiele for Meadows' final TD.

"For his first start, Evan did some nice things and some rookie things," Baker said. "But he has a lot to build on. Groark was a playmaker today which was very nice to see. We've got some good pieces to build on. But if we are going to win a game, we have a lot more to get up to speed"

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