Thrailkill, Collins among best in 6A

Seven other Pan­thers hon­ored in 6A-West

Siloam Springs Herald Leader - - SPORTS - By Gra­ham Thomas Staff Writer gth­[email protected]

Siloam Springs se­nior foot­ball play­ers Kaiden Thrailkill and Corbin Collins were among the best foot­ball play­ers in Class 6A, ac­cord­ing to the state’s high school coaches.

Thrailkill and Collins both earned Class 6A Al­lS­tate hon­ors for the 2018 sea­son af­ter help­ing the Pan­thers to five reg­u­lar sea­son wins and a Class 6A play­off berth.

Thrailkill, Collins and seven other Pan­thers also were 6A-West All-Con­fer­ence selec­tions as voted on by the con­fer­ence coaches.

All-State

Thrailkill, a 5-foot-10, 205-pound run­ning back, earned his sec­ond straight all-state honor af­ter rush­ing for 1,580 yards on 300 car­ries (5.3 yards per carry) and scoring 19 touch­downs this sea­son.

Though com­plete sta­tis­ti­cal records are not cur­rently avail­able, it’s prob­a­ble that Thrailkill’s rush­ing sta­tis­tics ranks among the best in school his­tory — if not the best. He had a sea­son-high 257 rush­ing yards in a 35-32 road win at Van Buren. He also rushed for 238 yards against El Do­rado and had more than 100 rush­ing yards in nine of 11 games.

“He built on what he started last sea­son and came back this year and ba­si­cally dou­bled that,” said Siloam Springs head coach Bran­don Craig. “He’s been a kid that’s been hun­gry ev­ery day and he’s showed up and worked ex­tremely hard.”

Thrailkill fin­ished his three-year ca­reer with 586 rushes for 2,794 yards (4.7 yards per carry) and 28 touch­downs. He also caught 41 passes for 506 yards out of the back­field with four touch­downs, in­clud­ing 13 re­cep­tions for 116 yards and a score his se­nior year.

“He was a kid that was al­ways will­ing to do what we asked him to do,” Craig said. “That’s not only sign of a great player but also a sign of a great per­son. Our team un­der­stands he was a big rea­son for our suc­cess. It was ex­cit­ing.”

The Pan­thers took ad­van­tage of Collins’ ver­sa­til­ity on the of­fen­sive line and also used him on the de­fense line through­out the year.

Collins (6-2, 275) played in all three of­fen­sive line spots over the course of his ca­reer, in­clud­ing some his se­nior year, spend­ing most of his time at tackle but also play­ing guard and cen­ter.

“It’s hard for peo­ple to un­der­stand what a kid like Corbin does,” Craig said. “He’s able to play guard, tackle, cen­ter and he can slip over and play de­fen­sive tackle. He’s very ver­sa­tile and was able to do what we needed him to do.”

By anchoring the of­fen­sive line, Collins helped the Pan­thers av­er­age more than 330 yards of of­fense per game — 189 rush­ing yards per game and 144 pass­ing per con­test.

De­fen­sively, Collins fin­ished with 16 to­tal tack­les, in­clud­ing 10 for loss, in lim­ited ac­tion.

“Ev­ery time he was in there he had an im­pact,” Craig said. “He was a big leader for us off the field and a kid we’ll miss in the pro­gram for a lot of rea­sons, in­clud­ing his ver­sa­til­ity and his abil­ity to do mul­ti­ple things.”

All-Con­fer­ence

Se­nior lineback­ers Chase Chan­dler and Matt Avery, and sopho­more line­backer Cam­den Collins were named 6A-West Al­lCon­fer­ence as were se­nior de­fen­sive back Primo Ag­behi, se­nior cen­ter Dil­lon Conn, se­nior H-back/tight end Spenser Pip­pin and se­nior quar­ter­back Lan­don “L.T.” El­lis. Chan­dler (5-10, 215), a line­backer, led the Pan­thers with 116 to­tal tack­les, in­clud­ing nine tack­les for loss. He also had an in­ter­cep­tion that was re­turned for a touch­down against Lit­tle Rock Hall.

“He was the leader of our de­fense,” Craig said of Chan­dler. “Just a kid that ev­ery time he got a chance he made an im­pact­ful play. He showed up ev­ery week and played ex­tremely hard and did ev­ery­thing we asked him to do.” Avery (5-11, 230) helped the Pan­thers at mid­dle line­backer. He was sec­ond on the team with 88 tack­les and led with 11 tack­les for loss. He also had four quar­ter­back sacks af­ter sit­ting out his ju­nior year en­tirely.

“We were very ex­cited to get him back,” Craig said. “He brought some­thing spe­cial to the pro­gram. He brought that spirit and ex­cite­ment to the team. He loves be­ing a Pan­ther.”

Cam­den Collins (61, 165), Corbin Collins’ younger brother, be­gan mak­ing a name for him­self from the start. He worked his way into the start­ing lineup at out­side line­backer and fin­ished third on the team with 73 to­tal tack­les. His 11 tack­les for loss tied Avery for the team lead and he had four quar­ter­back sacks as well. He also

cov­ered two fum­bles, one that he re­turned for a touch­down against Lit­tle Rock Hall, and had three in­ter­cep­tions. “Cam had a tremen­dous year for a sopho­more,” Craig said. “He did un­be­liev­able things for us. He has a tremen­dous fu­ture ahead of him if he keeps work­ing hard and stay­ing healthy. He did a great job for us.”

Ag­behi (5-9, 170) was an­other two-way starter for the Pan­thers, play­ing de­fen­sive back and wide re­ceiver.

De­fen­sively, he led the team with seven pass breakups as the Pan­thers’ top de­fen­sive back. He also had an in­ter­cep­tion and 41 to­tal tack­les.

Offensively, Ag­behi was a big play threat, catch­ing 18 passes for 473 yards (26.3 yards per catch) and six touch­downs.

“You know as a coach he was go­ing to be your top man-to-man (de­fense) guy,” Craig said. “He has the speed but he worked on tech­nique this sum­mer and got bet­ter and re­ally de­vel­oped into a lock­down cor­ner.

“Then offensively he would flip over and have an im­pact for us. He’s just a kid that has that ex­plo­sive abil­ity.”

Conn was a two-year starter at cen­ter on the Pan­thers’ of­fen­sive line de­spite be­ing un­der­sized at 5-11, 193 pounds.

“Dil­lon was a leader on the field and off the field,” Craig said. “He’s the kind of kid you want to have in your pro­gram year af­ter year af­ter year. You never want to see a kid like that leave. He gave tremen­dous ef­fort on ev­ery play. As a coach you can’t ask for more than that.”

Cam­den Collins’ emer­gence on de­fense helped the Pan­thers uti­lize Pip­pin more on the of­fen­sive end.

Pip­pin be­gan the sea­son play­ing both ways, but by the end he was mainly on of­fense at the H-back/tight end spot and fin­ished with a teamhigh 34 re­cep­tions for 353 yards (10.4 yards per carry) and one touch­down.

“There’s no doubt he was the best Hback/tight end in our con­fer­ence,” Craig said of Pip­pin. “He blocked well and caught the ball and was a big fac­tor in the pass­ing game. He gave us a lot of op­tions as a play­caller.”

Pip­pin (6-0, 180) also was the team’s deep snap­per on punts and the holder on field goals and ex­tra points.

“He’s an­other kid that loved to play foot­ball and did ev­ery­thing the coach­ing staff asked him to do,” Craig said.

Af­ter a slow start to the sea­son, El­lis fin­ished strong for the Pan­thers at quar­ter­back, com­plet­ing 120 of 231 passes for 1,578 yards, 10 touch­downs and nine in­ter­cep­tions — all while com­ing off of his sec­ond ACL tear.

El­lis (5-11, 168) also showed some abil­ity to run the ball, rush­ing 86 times for 335 yards and five touch­downs.

“L.T. was in a tough spot,” Craig said. “A se­nior quar­ter­back learn­ing a new sys­tem and two ACL in­juries. That’s the tough­est spot of any­body with all the pres­sures and I think he han­dled it tremen­dously. He did a great job of learn­ing and if he’d had a sec­ond year he would have been even bet­ter.”

Bud Sullins/Spe­cial to the Her­ald-Leader

Se­nior of­fen­sive line­man Corbin Collins was a Class 6A All-State se­lec­tion in 2018 along with earn­ing 6A-West Al­lCon­fer­ence hon­ors.

Bud Sullins/Spe­cial to the Hearld-Leader

Se­nior run­ning back Kaiden Thrailkill earned Class 6A All-State hon­ors for the sec­ond straight sea­son in 2018. Thrailkill also was a 6A-West All-Con­fer­ence se­lec­tion.

Bud Sullins/Spe­cial to the Her­ald-Leader

Se­nior line­backer Chase Chan­dler was a 6A-West All-Con­fer­ence se­lec­tion in 2018.

Bud Sullins/Spe­cial to the Her­ald-Leader

Sopho­more line­backer Cam Collins, No. 5, was a 6A-West All-Con­fer­ence se­lec­tion in 2018.

Bud Sullins/Spe­cial to the Her­ald-Leader

Se­nior line­backer Matt Avery was a 6A-West Al­lCon­fer­ence se­lec­tion in 2018.

Thrailkill

Corbin Collins

Chan­dler

Avery

Bud Sullins/Spe­cial to the Her­ald-Leader

Se­nior wide re­ceiver Spenser Pip­pin was a 6A-West Al­lCon­fer­ence se­lec­tion in 2018.

Bud Sullins/Spe­cial to the Her­ald-Leader

Se­nior de­fen­sive back Primo Ag­behi was a 6A-West Al­lCon­fer­ence se­lec­tion in 2018.

Bud Sullins/Spe­cial to the Her­ald-Leader

Se­nior quar­ter­back Lan­don El­lis was a 6A-West All-Con­fer­ence se­lec­tion in 2018.

Bud Sullins/Spe­cial to the Her­ald-Leader

Se­nior cen­ter Dil­lon Conn was a 6A-West All-Con­fer­ence se­lec­tion in 2018.

Cam­den Collins

Ag­behi

Conn

Pip­pin

El­lis

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