COLO - Collins-Maxwell made history, and sent head football coach Cory Crnkovich on his way toward becoming a married man in the process, with a 42-20 victory at Colo-NESCO Friday.
The Spartans earned the first win in program history Friday after going 0-9 in its inaugural season. As a result, Crnkovich made good on a promise and proposed to his girlfriend, Jadyn Kooiker, immediately following the victory.
“One of my best friends is on the staff — coach (Brent) Carlson — and I talked to him about doing this when he got on board,” Crnkovich said. “I’ve been with her for two years and she’s been hounding me. It was just time, so I made a promise with the guys. I told them if we win a game, I’ll pop the question. Right after we won the game, we went over there and I asked them what the deal was — they told me what the deal was — and we came over here and got it done.”
The Spartan players were more than happy to finally give their coach the opportunity to propose to Kooiker.
“That was awesome,” Collins-Maxwell running back Caleb Fullerton said. “I’m really glad. He deserves it.”
Crnkovich’s fiancée wasn’t the only one rewarded for their patience on Friday. The Spartan football players have taken quite a few licks over the past 1 1/2 years as a brand-new 8-man program.
Collins-Maxwell was completely overmatched in every game last year and during the first three games this season. But two weeks ago, the Spartans showed some fight in a 43-22 loss to AGWSR.
Last week the Spartans took it a step further by pushing Baxter for three quarters before losing, 42-22, in the first game they didn’t need a running clock.
“We talk about trusting the process,” Crnkovich said. “We’ve had a lot of things — with injuries and all that stuff — and they fought through it the entire time. Last year’s guys put us in a good position by helping those underclassmen grow up. We just talked about all week; we have to do our job and stay disciplined and the game was going to be ours.”
The pass-catch combo of quarterback Kadin Bennett and receiver Brett Livesay was the difference-maker for the Spartans on Friday. Bennett completed 13 of 23 passes for 200 yards and three touchdowns and Livesay had eight catches for 192 yards and three scores.
Livesay hauled in a 29-yard scoring strike over the middle to break a 14-14 tie just before the end of the first half. He caught a long 70-yard bomb over the middle five minutes into the third quarter to stretch the Spartan lead to 28-14.
Collins-Maxwell never trailed after that point.
“Once I got past them, I knew I was going to catch it,” Livesay said. “Once I caught it I was just proud of myself and proud for the team (that) we scored.”
Bennett said it’s nice to have a 6-5 target to throw to down the field.
“It’s like having a giant on your team,” Bennett said. “As long as a small guy is on him, it’s touchdowns all day.”
Livesay also caught an 18-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter from backup quarterback Mason Markley to ice the game. Markley completed both of his passing attempts for 33 yards.
For the first time this season, the ground game was a huge success for Collins-Maxwell. Fullerton ran for 108 yards and one touchdown on 23 carries, Bennett picked up 56 yards on the ground and and Rylee Scott ran for 13 yards and a score.
A healthy offensive line made a huge difference on Friday.
“We got one of our linemen back (Nathan Leonard) and I knew coming into the game he was going to help a lot of the running game,” Fullerton said. “He just delivered.”
Leonard also got the thrill of catching a 9-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter.
For the game, Collins-Maxwell totaled a season-best 410 yards.
The Spartan defense gave up 213 yards rushing, but made Colo-NESCO one-dimensional in only allowing 13 passing yards. The Spartans also recovered three fumbles to improve to 1-5 overall and 1-2 in 8-man District 5.
Fullerton anchored the Spartan defense with 11.5 tackles and a fumble recovery.
Simon McKinney made 9.5 stops, Scott 8.5 and Livesay and Bennett 4.5 apiece. Carson Skinner added 5.5 tackles and a fumble recovery, Leonard four tackles and a fumble recovery and John Kasper five tackles.
Colo-NESCO fell to 0-6 and 0-3 respectively.
Francis Bower ran for 70 yards and had touchdown runs from 22 and five yards and Kelly Gray led the team with 108 rushing yards, including a 54-yard scoring run late in the first half.
Brandon Roberts ran for 31 yards and threw for 13 for the Royals. On defense, Ethan Wilson made 9.5 tackles, Bower 8.5 and Roberts eight for the Colo-NESCO.
Collins-Maxwell hosts Gladbrook-Reinbeck next Friday in Maxwell. The game will start at 7 p.m.
Collins-Maxwell 42, Colo-NESCO 20
CM 14 6 8 14 — 42
CN 8 6 6 0 — 20
CN - Francis Bower 5 run (Kelly Gray run), 7:55.
CM - Rylee Scott 7 run (Caleb Fullerton run), 6:31.
CM - Nathan Leonard 9 pass from Kadin Bennett (run failed), 0:25.
CN - Gray 54 run (run failed), 0:59
CM - Brett Livesay 29 pass from Bennett (run failed), 0:09.
CM - Livesay 70 pass from Bennett (Scott run), 7:04.
CN - Bower 22 run (run failed), 3:28.
CM - Livesay 18 pass from Mason Markley (run failed), 9:22.
CM - Fullerton 1 run (Fullerton run), 4:00.
Rushes-yards 35-177 50-213
Passing 15-25-0 1-3-0
Passing yards 233 13
Total yards 410 226
Fumbles lost 1 3
Punts-average 5-30.2 5-36.0
Rushing: CM - Caleb Fullerton 23-108, Kadin Bennett 8-56, Rylee Scott 4-13. CN - Kelly Gray 22-108, Francis Bower 19-70, Brandon Roberts 8-31, Andrew Grover 1-4.
Passing: CM - Bennett 13-23-0-200, Mason Markley 2-2-0-33. B - Roberts 1-3-0-13.
Receiving: CM - Brett Livesay 8-192, Simon McKinney 2-16, Nathan Leonard 1-9, John Kasper 2-9, Hunter Clair 1-5, Fullerton 1-2.
Tackles: CM - Fullerton 11.5, Simon McKinney 9.5, Scott 8.5, Carson Skinner 5.5, John Kasper 5. CN - Ethan Wilson 9.5, Bower 8.5, Roberts 8, Gray 4.5, Parker Ryan 3.5.
Fumble recoveries: CM - Fullerton, Leonard, Skinner. CN - Jake Perry.