The Section Lions kicked off their 2021 season with a convincing 34-6 win against the Collinsville Panthers.
The win snapped Section's six-game losing streak to Collinsville, which edged the Lions 7-0 a year ago.
Section’s Drake McCutchen and Jr. Walker combined for 329 rushing yards and three touchdowns in the win, with McCutchen picking up 185 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries and Walker having 144 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries.
Late in the game, Connor Stronvi got some carries and picked up 33 more yards on three carries, capped off by a 21-yard touchdown in which he broke a couple tackles and spun out of another. The three backs also combined for nine runs of 20-plus yards.
“I got two good [backs], [Walker and McCutchen] both are tremendous ball players and better young men. We got Cameron Summerford and Dominik Blair too, you know, and Connor Stronvi, he showed that he can play. It’s nice to have players and they got a really good combination there,” Section head coach Chris Hammon said.
The Section passing game got in the act late in the game, as senior quarterback Jacob Cooper was able to rattle off two completions in which he had to extend the play and find an open receiver, one of which resulting in a 60-yard touchdown on a 3rd and 25 to Summerford.
“We got a threat to throw the ball and we could be good at it. Cooper is a good quarterback and he had some nerves. He’s going to progress and that’s something we need to work on,” Hammon said.
Though Section played well, there were some issues on the offensive side snapping the ball, where the snaps would be low. Hammon attributed those issues to two freshmen starting in their first game and being nervous, adding that a wet ball didn’t help. The Lions also committed six penalties, starting the fourth quarter with a false start, block in the back and another false start to turn a third and 13 into the third and 25 where Cooper found Summerford on a catch-and-run 60-yard touchdown.
On the defensive side of the ball, Section carried a shutout for most of the game, denying Collinsville at several points where they were moving the ball well on offense. The Section defense forced two interceptions and only allowed a touchdown halfway through the fourth quarter, when Section already held a 28-point lead.
Hammon was most impressed by his team’s physicality.
“Proud of my guys, like I said, a win is a win. You can make mistakes, but you play hard and make up for it and I thought we did. I thought we played hard and did the things we needed to do, proud for our guys,” Hammon said.