The Collins Tigers repeated as 3A South State Champions on Friday by overpowering the West Marion Trojans, 40-36.
Collins got their first score on a 15 yard run by Detric Hawthorn early in the first quarter. Timothy Durr added the conversion for Collins to go up 8-0. After a West Marion punt, Hawthorn hooked up with Dorrean McLaurin for a 65 yard pass completion for a touchdown. Hawthorn rushed for the conversion and the Tigers led 16-0 through the end of the first quarter.
Rakerian Forrest put the Tigers back on the board early in the second quarter with a 12 yard TD run. Forrest added the conversion and the defending state champions held a 24-0 lead. West Marion finally scored in the second quarter, but the Tigers answered right back with a 10 yard TD run by Durr. Durr added the conversion and the score stood at 32-6, Tigers. The Trojans added one more score before the half to close the score to 32-14 at the half.
On the opening drive of the third quarter, the Trojans completed a long pass for score and the Tiger lead was cut to 32-22. Early in the fourth quarter, the Trojans once again found a way to score and the lead was now 32-28, Tigers. Late in the fourth quarter, the Trojans overtook the lead 36-32, but the Tiger offense revived their spirit and put together one more scoring drive, which culminated in a one yard touchdown by Hawthorn. The conversion was good and the lead was now 40-36. That was as close as the game would get, though, and the Tigers earned the right to return to the 3A State Championship game on Saturday, December 5.
The top performer for the Tigers was Hawthorn with 210 yards passing, 158 yards rushing, and 3 touchdowns.
Collins finished the night with 257 rushing yards and 210 passing yards for 467 yards of offense.
The Tigers (14-1) will play Charleston (13-2) at 11 a.m. on Saturday, December 5, for the 3A title game on the campus of the University of Mississippi.