AVON - Slowing down Plainville quarterback Christian Collin has been an unenviable task of late.
On Saturday afternoon against Avon, the junior gashed the Falcons defense for 236 yards and a pair of touchdowns through the air, and that was only half of his production. On the ground, Collin ran for 176 yards, which included a highlight reel worthy touchdown scamper.
Whether it was through direct snap designed runs or scrambles on seemingly broken plays, Avon had no answer for the Blue Devils’ dual threat quarterback.
“I feel like that’s a huge part of my game,” Collin said of his ability to impact a game with his arm and his legs. “Obviously, I’d like to improve more with my passing, but I take a lot of pride in it.”
Collin’s passing wasn’t a problem on Saturday, completing 15 of 21 passes, a mark that would have been even better had it not been for a pair of drops on perfectly placed balls in the first half. Collin’s improvement in the passing game has caused further trouble for opposing defenses, which now have to respect the arm while defending against his plus-scrambling ability.
“He’s a beast out there,” wide receiver Dylan Hall said after connecting with Collin for a 76-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s win. “He’s always been a beast. He’s an athletic kid and does whatever he needs to do. He always puts the team first. He’s just a great player.”
Collin has showed off his dual threat potency in clutch moments already this season, including against Tolland when a collapsing pocket in the final 40 seconds of play led the junior quarterback to scramble, evade a would-be tackler and dive for the pylon to turn a two-point deficit into a 22-16 win, keeping the Blue Devils’ playoff hopes alive. They’re currently No. 9 in the Class S rankings with a 6-2 record.
His playmaking ability took center stage again on Saturday.
In the first quarter, Collin broke two tackles at the line of scrimmage and another five yards later before sprinting across the width of the field and taking off down the sideline for a 68-yard touchdown. Later in the game, Collin was met in the backfield after fielding a shotgun snap, but shrugged off the tackler, then threw another to the ground at the end of what turned out to be a 5-yard run, setting up a more manageable third down (which Collin ran for 10 yards and a first down anyway) and eventually a touchdown pass to increase Plainville’s lead.
The third-quarter drive highlighted Collin and his variety of methods to keep the chains moving, which head coach Tim Shea has utilized to expand the playbook and keep the Blue Devils moving on the offensive end.
“I’m a defensive guy at heart, and it’s about what you want to defend,” Shea explained. “We showed at Tolland that we’re able to throw the ball. It comes down to what we think teams are going to defend. It widens our playbook and gives us more opportunities.”
It also gives Collin himself more confidence, knowing if a passing play breaks down, his escapability gives Plainville another chance to gain positive yardage and prevent drives from stalling.
“That’s a great skill to have,” Collin said. “It allows us to do a bunch of different things. “We have guys everywhere that can make plays. On any given down we can take it to the house.”
For opponents, that could be the greatest sense of unease when defending against Plainville. With Collin behind center, any play can turn into a big play, and the quarterback gains confidence with each passing week as the Blue Devils continue their surge toward a potential spot in the Class S state tournament.
“It’s good to see,” Shea said. “His mistakes are getting smaller. And we get to have another year with him.”