Collins’ Senior Night splurge not enough for Lakeview against mighty Many

Senior running back Kaleb Collins scored four touchdowns in his final regular season game in a 56-26 loss to Many. Lakeview still has a shot at the playoffs, which would extend Collins’ career at least one more week. (Journal photo by KEVIN SHANNAHAN)

By MATT VINES, Journal Sports

CAMPTI – If Thursday was Kaleb Collins’ final game in a Lakeview High jersey, it’ll be one to remember.

If not, if the Gators don’t reach the state playoffs, it will still be hard to forget.

Collins scored four touchdowns as the Lakeview offense didn’t back down from a stout Many defense.

It wasn’t enough to seriously threaten Many as the Tigers jetted to a 56-26 win behind a versatile offensive attack.

But the Gators (3-7, 0-5 District 3-2A) raised eyebrows late in the second quarter by scoring on consecutive possessions to cause the crowd to wonder if Lakeview could make a game of it in the second half.

Already trailing 28-0, Lakeview got tricky with a double reverse, and Collins outran the Many defense for a 55-yard touchdown.

Many (7-2, 5-0) consistently took advantage of the short fields created by Lakeview’s onside kicks, and the Tigers struck back on the next play from scrimmage to build a 35-6 edge. Mason Leach caught a 38-yard pass for his first touchdown of the season.

But the Gators pushed Many around on their next possession, ripping off outside runs of 23 and 17 yards to get inside the 10-yard line.

Lakeview drove Many back on a third-down Collins run of 1-yard to score.

The Gators had life down 21 points at 35-14 with less than a minute left in the first half.

The success was short lived as Many’s Jeremiah James took off for a 75-yard touchdown run, one play after a 50-yard touchdown run was wiped out.

Many took its 42-14 lead into halftime, and Lakeview never came any closer than those 21 points.

Collins added two fourth-quarter touchdown runs of 18 and 15 yards to punctuate Lakeview’s most impressive offensive showing in district play.

He finishes the regular season with 22 touchdowns, which ranks in the state’s top 10, according to Teammate Omarion Pierr entered Week 10 ranked 15th in rushing yards with 1,422.

Lakeview’s 26 points scored is the Gators’ best in district play this season.

Only three teams have scored more points on Many this season, and none of those games have been in the district.

Thursday’s matchup featured a pair of historic streaks.

Many extended its district winning streak to 55 games with its last loss coming to Pickering in the 2013 district opener.

Lakeview hasn’t won a district game since 2019, and the Gators’ skid lengthened to 16 games.

Even though the Gators are in the midst of a six-game losing streak this season after a 3-1 start, Lakeview still has a shot at making the Division IV Non-Select playoffs.

Lakeview entered Week 10 in the No. 27 position as they try to hold to one of the 28 playoff slots.

Playing Many will be a power-point boost with the Tigers’ seven wins, which could be enough to remain in the playoff picture.

The Gators had nearly a half-point lead on No. 29 East Iberville, the first team out of the playoff picture, entering Week 10. Three other teams trail East Iberville closely, but none of those teams are favored in their Week 10 matchups.

Many locked up sole possession of the district title with a win and further secured a first-round bye in the Division III Non-Select playoffs.

The Tigers entered this game as the No. 5 seed in the playoff bracket.