SHELBYVILLE Kevin Kuriger was a Collins killer Friday night.
The South Oldham senior fullback ran for 246 yards and the game-clinching touchdown in leading the Dragons to a 32-17 triumph over the host Titans — last year’s Class 4-A state champs.
“He ran for 1,100 yards last year and nobody talked about him because we’re South Oldham, but Kevin’s the real deal, he just doesn’t get a lot of attention,” South Oldham coach Jamie Reed said.
The 5-foot-11, 190-pound Kuriger was the bell cow for the Dragons, averaging 8.8 yards on 28 carries as he outgained Collins’ offense by himself.
“I thought we all played really well,” Kuriger said. “Holes opened up (for me), the line did a great job, phenomenal.”
The Dragons rolled up 381 yards of total offense in their season-opener after their game last week against West Jessamine was canceled due to inclement weather.
The Titans, meanwhile, amassed just 190 yards as they suffered their second straight setback — the first regular-season two-game losing streak in the brief history of the program (which began in 2010).
“We’ve just got to get better,” said Titans coach Jerry Lucas, whose team (No. 2 in The Courier-Journal’s preseason coaches poll) suffered heavy graduation losses after winning the state title. “We’ve got to get better running the football, we’ve got to get better throwing the football.”
Things could’ve started better for Collins, which was coming off a 33-14 season-opening loss at 6-A Simon Kenton but coming in 21-2 all-time on its homefield. The Titans punted on their first two possessions and South Oldham scored after the latter as Kuriger’s 42-yard run set up Charles McGee’s 7-yard touchdown pass to Conner John.
Collins countered with an 11-play, 77-yard scoring drive that ended with a 39-yard touchdown pass from Browning Becherer — who came off the bench to throw the game-winning TD against Highlands in the final seconds of last year’s state final — to E.J. Burk on fourth down.
The Dragons, though, quickly responded with an 11-play scoring drive of their own. The 72-yard drive, was capped off by McGee’s 4-yard touchdown toss to Starr Thompson.
Collins capitalized on a South Oldham fumble late in the first half as senior Blanton Creque booted a 37-yard field goal 1:42 before halftime to cut the Dragons’ lead to four.
South Oldham, which outgained the Titans 171-98 in the first half, took the opening kickoff of the second half and marched 80 yards in 3:37. John’s 7-yard touchdown run, which was followed by a 2-point conversion pass, gave the Dragons a 22-10 lead.
It took Collins one play to answer, as senior Gabe Nash took a first-down screen pass from Becherer and did the rest, breaking several tackles on his way to an 80-yard touchdown.
The two teams then traded turnovers and possessions before Kuriger’s 45-yard TD run with 5:48 to play iced it for the Dragons.
“It’s a good win,” said Reed, whose team hosts 5-A No. 5 Anderson County next Friday. “Collins is a great program. They’re a little different this year, we kind of saw that on film, but they’re still special.”
The Titans (0-2) play at Ballard next week.
SO – Conner John 7 pass from Charles McGee (Drew Koch kick); C – E.J. Burk 39 pass from Browning Becherer (Blanton Creque kick); SO – Starr Thompson 4 pass from McGee (Koch kick); C – Creque 37 FG; SO – John 7 run (Tanner Kormanis from McGee); C – Gabe Nash 80 pass from Becherer (Creque kick); SO – Kuriger 45 run (Koch kick); SO – Koch 29 FG.