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D6 FINALS: Drew Collins leads Montague to second-half explosion, rolling past Clinton for first title since 2009

By: Matthew B. Mowery, January 22, 2021, 8:45 pm

DETROIT — Drew Collins knew he couldn’t catch his dad’s ring total. 

At this point, he’s just happy to be in the club.

The Montague senior joined the fraternity of title-winning Wildcats quarterbacks, leading his squad to 21 unanswered second-half points and a convincing, 40-14 win over Clinton in Friday’s Division 6 championship game. 

It’s the third title for Montague (12-0), first since back-to-back titles in 2009. The quarterback for those two titles, Cody Kater, is now the offensive coordinator for head coach Pat Collins, Drew’s dad, who was the Montague QB in the program’s first appearance, a loss to Detroit St. Martin dePorres back in 1992. 

Drew Collins might be one up on his dad for rings as a player, but he’s still trailing in overall championships. 

“Feels good, but at the end of the day, it’s his, too. I’m at one, he’s at three. Maybe we can change that later in life,” said the Michigan Tech-bound quarterback who threw for 244 yards and three scores, and ran for 51 yards and two more in the win. 

For the first half, though, Clinton (10-2) would not go away. 

The two teams traded touchdowns through the midway point of the second quarter. 

Samuel Smith had the first two of his three TD catches (9 and 44 yards) in the first half, but 

George Ames (8-yard run) and Braydn Lehman (2-yard run) scored for Clinton, leaving the Redskins up by one, 14-13, with 4:20 left in the first half. 

A three-play, 60-yard drive netted a Dylan Everett 2-yard TD run for Montague just 66 seconds later, and the Wildcats, up 19-14 at that point, wouldn’t trail again.

Emblematic of a squad that gave up just 55 points in the regular season and just 44 more in the postseason entering Friday’s game, the Wildcats defense stiffened in the second half. 

“I thought the coaches did a great job — our staff is phenomenal. We did some adjustments. But really … this team is run by the players, the seniors especially, and their determination is what makes the difference. It was about their heart, coming out in the second half, and really finding the energy to stack up to a great Clinton team, honestly. That Clinton team can bring it, and they brought it today. … I just thought our kids dug down deep and made some incredible plays in the second half,” Pat Collins said. 

“The seniors have run this team from the get-go. They’re taking care of the motivational pieces, and our coaches do a great job with the X’s and O’s. When I say we’re making an adjustment, it might be just, honestly, move our linebackers back a half a yard. Those are the differences that make in a game like this. To notice some things … moving the linebackers back a half a yard can make a difference in a game.”

Drew Collins hit Smith with a 26-yard touchdown pass halfway through the third to make it 26-14, then added a pair of touchdown runs — 9 and 23 yards — to complete the scoring, and turning on the tears on the sidelines. 

“I love high school football. I love these coaches, I love my friends on the team, I love everybody on the team. I love the community. It’s bittersweet when you win a state championship as a senior, because it’s all over,” Drew Collins said. “Just that love, and it’s all over, it’s really sad. Just goes to show the type of community support we have, and the stuff that’s weighing on that game, was more than just football. We really do love football, love the community and love each other. That’s why everybody was so emotional at this time.”

Brayden Randolph had 196 yards on 23 carries for the Redskins, who held a massive advantage in time of possession, more than doubling up Montague. 

“Just to remember this feeling was something I told them in our last huddle down there. You gotta look around and remember this feeling because this is a feeling you need to carry with you from here on out,” Clinton coach Jeremy Fielder said of the message to his team. “Anything you do in the weight room, summer workout, a practice — and I know it’s cliche, but it’s the honest truth — you have to remember this feeling, how great it felt to walk on the field, and how bad it felt to lose this football game. You have to want it so bad, you want to come back here with all your heart.”