By Bobby Mathews, Sports Editor
CENTER POINT — Jabari Collier kept the Center Point Eagles within striking distance of Pleasant Grove here on Friday night. Even though it wasn’t enough for the win, Collier is The Tribune’s Player of the Week.
With Pleasant Grove keyed on Troy Bruce and limiting the standout running back to only 54 yards, Collier scored two running touchdowns and threw another as the Eagles kept the Spartans on their toes deep into the third quarter of Friday night’s quarterfinal 5A playoff game.
Collier got the scoring started with 8:40 left in the first quarter, when he ran the ball in from one yard out. The Eagles re-took the lead when he ran 24 yards to pay dirt on their next possession. Overall, Collier ran for 195 yards and passed for 59 more on 7-for-14 attempts.
He hit Therman Moore for a 15-yard score to bring the Eagles within a touchdown on the first drive of the second half, but Center Point could get no further.
This is the second time this season Collier has been named The Tribune’s Player of the Week.
“He’s the fastest kid on the team and he’s our second-leading rusher,” Center Point head coach George Bates said of Collier earlier this season. “He’s becoming a more vocal leader, and he’s explosive.”
Collier and the Eagles have adjusted to a new scheme that takes advantage of Center Point’s speed and athleticism.
“Early on we had a new offensive coordinator, new system, and that system is a good fit with his talent” Bates said. “Now he (Collier) understands that he is the focal point of what we’re doing. He touches the ball every play, and he’s a threat for us on every down.”
After the loss to Pleasant Grove, Collier was stoic on the sidelines. The end of the season hurt, as the Eagles felt they had more they could have accomplished. But this was a team that went 9-4 and made it into the quarterfinals of the 5A playoffs, proving that Center Point has made major strides as a program.
Collier was in his first full season as quarterback, and according to his coaches, he has made tremendous progress at the position. And he’s only a junior. Collier will return in 2022 for his senior season.
Also considered for Player of the Week: Khalib Johnson (Clay-Chalkville) and Mario Craver (Clay-Chalkville). Player of the Week is sponsored by OrthoAlabama Spine & Sports.