WALPOLE, Mass. -— There’s probably no way Barry Greener is just going to use this play every time his offense gets inside the 30-yard line.
But outside observers might not blame him if he does.
Chris Collins and his big frame splits out wide against a defensive back and the tight end uses his body to outmuscle, out-jump and out just about everything against a smaller defender in a jump ball scenario in the end zone.
Walpole used that play -- let’s call it “Go, Collins” -- twice to perfection last night in a 31-0 trumping of Needham at Turco Memorial Field. The rest of the Bay State Conference, and Eastern Mass., might want to take notice when big No. 85 jogs towards the linesman and sets up as a wide receiver. Because more likely than not, quarterback Will Bolster is going to find his target.
“That’s a little mismatch,” said Greener. “We have it and we use it. You don’t have something like that every year, so when you have it you might as well use it.”
Collins has the build of a power forward and is very much in the mold of Antonio Gates, in terms of how the Rebels are deploying him. Collins finished with three catches for 55 yards and two scores against the Rockets (5-2).
“I used to play basketball, so I’m used to posting people up,” said Collins. “Bolster is a great quarterback. Credit to him and the offensive line for blocking.”
The play will give the Rebels options when defenses try to gameplan on how to stop the tight end from getting a seemlesly easy touchdown. Just let Barry Greener tell you in the only way coach Greener knows how.
“He’s improved a lot,” said Greener. “Chris, in my opinion, is still a better defensiver player and he is a offensive player. Now he’s starting to get a clue on offense. Defense is more instinctive. A lot of times we are slanting or angling. It’s more instinctive. With offense you have to have a grasp and a knowledge of the game. What are we trying to do on offense? What is your role? Why are you out there? He blocks very well. He’s a great stock blocker.
"He’s there to block and try to create a mismatch with a smaller cornerback. If they are out there to double him then we try to overload the other side. It’s pretty hard to double Collins if you’ve got three receivers to cover on the other side. It’s tough to cover unless you bring in a dime coverage with six defensive backs. Then we are going to run the ball at you.”
FILLING IN FOR RANDO
Mike Rando is still in a walking boot, but Greener said his running back/defensive back will be out of the boot on Saturday and will most likely be ready for the heavyweight matchup against Natick.
The Rebels had plenty of options to counter the loss.
Connor Moriarty rushed 16 times for 122 yards and a score, Cam Hanley added a score, and Steve Thulin gained tough yards through the middle of the field to keep the offensive churning in tough weather conditions.
“Our running backs coach said this isn’t Team Rando, it’s the Walpole Rebels,” said Moriarty. “We really stuck to that tonight and it paid off.”
That being said, Rando’s health will be key for the Rebels as they look towards the playoffs.
“He’s a great defensive player,” said Greener. “He plays safety, corner plays in the slot, he plays tailback. He does everything. He can cook hot dogs at halftime.”
Ryan Charter didn’t play the second half for the Rockets after taking a big hit on the sideline late in the first half. The junior quarterback sustained an injury to his throwing hand and had it taped after the game was over.
“We don’t know,” said Needham coach Dave Duffy. “We are going to get it X-rayed and we will see what his family says. Hopefully he will be back. He’s a big part of our offense.”