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EDMOND — Andrew Carney still needed to get one more touchdown to lift Collinsville to a victory.
The star quarterback had already scored five times as he lined up on the McAlester 6 while facing a second-and-goal. With the game tied in the closing minutes, Collinsville didn’t attempt anything new or special. The Cardinals went with what had been working.
In the end, Carney came through yet again.
The senior took the snap in the shotgun, went to his right near the sideline and raced into the end zone with 1:52 remaining to seal a 42-35 victory in the Class 5A state title game against McAlester on Saturday night at the University of Central Oklahoma’s Chad Richison Stadium.
Carney was outstanding throughout the night and finished 8-of-13 passing for 128 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for 121 yards and four scores on 20 carries as Collinsville claimed its first football title in school history and finished with a 14-0 record.
“It was a group effort,” Carney said. “It’s the best feeling I’ve ever had in my life.”
It was indeed a group effort by the top-ranked Cardinals.
Along with Carney, senior tailback Brayden Gilkey had a solid night on the ground, carrying the ball 16 times for 169 yards.
Senior receiver Oscar Hammond also had a big role and finished with seven catches for 119 yards and two scores.
Although the Collinsville defense struggled for most of the game — McAlester junior tailback Erik McCarty had 31 carries for 268 yards and four scores — it stopped the second-ranked Buffaloes from reaching the end zone on their final possession and knocked down a Hail Mary as time expired.
“We knew this was the goal,” Collinsville coach Kevin Jones said. “We never even had to talk about it. Everyone knew this was the goal. This is what we were capable of.”
McAlester (13-1) and Collinsville had a back-and-forth battle and were tied at 21 at halftime.
Carney ran for a 2-yard score with 7:42 left in the third to give Collinsville the lead, but McAlester senior quarterback Trent Boatright tied it with a 4-yard touchdown run with six seconds left in the quarter.
After another Carney touchdown run and a rushing score by McCarty in the fourth, the Collinsville offense drove 66 yards on six plays, and Carney sealed the win with his fourth touchdown run.
"It was an emotional rollercoaster, for sure," Gilkey said. "We knew it would come down to what defense came out on top. I feel like at the end of the day, they're a great football team, but I think we just wanted it more and it showed in that second half."
Although Collinsville came away with the victory, McCarty’s performance was one of the best in any state championship game in recent memory.
Along with running for 268 yards and four scores, he led McAlester with 13 tackles while playing defensive back.
“He is so special,” Jones said. “His closing ability on defense and his burst on offense is like none that we’ve seen the last couple of years. He is a very special young man. I really like the way he plays the game, too. He’s not arrogant. He’s a competitor.”
Reporter Nick Sardis covers high school sports across the Oklahoma City metro and state. Have a story idea for Nick? He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @nick_sardis. Support Nick’s work and that of other Oklahoman journalists by purchasing a digital subscription today at oklahoman.com/subscribe or by using the link at the top of this page.
This article originally appeared on Oklahoman: OSSAA football: Collinsville edges McAlester for Class 5A state title