LONG BEACH — Confronted with one of those uncomfortable situations that test one's mettle, Chad Collins listened attentively to the impromptu sideline lecture Friday night.
Collins, Trabuco Hills senior quarterback, was visibly dejected after his miscues led to turnovers in the Mustangs' first two possessions against Long Beach Jordan.
But Coach Jim Barnett didn't have time to lament the situation--and he wasn't going to let his signal-caller, either.
"Coach told me to get my head in the game," Collins said. "He told me to have faith in myself and my teammates, and everything would be OK."
Give the kid credit for being a quick study.
Collins rebounded in a big way, throwing three touchdown passes in leading the Mustangs to an impressive 35-8 victory over Jordan in the second round of the Southern Section Division I playoffs in front of approximately 700 at Jordan.
In the semifinals, the Mustangs (10-2) will play Bishop Amat (12-0), which defeated Fontana, 20-0, in another second-round game. Bishop Amat is ranked first in the state by Cal-Hi Sports and No. 1 in the nation by USA Today.
"I'm going to enjoy this one for a little bit," Barnett said. "I'm not going to think about Bishop Amat, at least not until (today)."
Collins is the key reason Barnett has such things to ponder at all.
Normally one-half of the Mustangs' two-pronged quarterback attack that also features fellow senior J.C. Pintsak, Collins had to play the entire game because Pintsak is suffering from a back injury.
Collins threw an interception in the game's opening possession and fumbled a snap from center, which the Panthers recovered, the second time Trabuco Hills had the ball.
However, Collins' problems ended there. He completed 13 of 15 passes for 250 yards and three touchdowns with one interception.
"That's one of the advantages of having two good quarterbacks," Barnett said. "One of the negatives is that you have to try to play them both, but a positive is that you always have someone who can get the job done."
He completed 10 of 11 passes for 165 yards in the first half. Running back De Sha Runnels helped give the Mustangs a 7-0 lead with a three-yard touchdown run with 10 minutes 20 seconds remaining before halftime.
Collins then teamed with Runnels on a six-yard touchdown pass to help Trabuco Hills take a 14-0 lead into halftime. Collins was equally solid in the second half, connecting on three of his four attempts for 85 yards and two touchdowns.
His 58-yard touchdown pass to junior tight end Ben Triman helped give Trabuco Hills a 21-0 lead with 1:37 remaining in the third quarter. After senior tailback Bobby Johnson (eight carries, 100 yards) helped put the Mustangs ahead, 28-0, with a 60-yard touchdown run, Collins threw 10 yards to senior wide receiver Bryan Flournoy (four catches, 110 yards) to help Trabuco Hills take a 35-0 lead with 8:45 to play.
The Panthers (8-4) lost three fumbles and failed to score three times from inside the Mustangs' 10-yard line. Junior quarterback Ortege Jenkins' 43-yard pass to Joe Hughes put the Panthers on the scoreboard with 4:27 remaining. They also combined to cap the scoring with a two-point conversion pass.
Ahmad Jackson led the Moore League-champion Panthers (8-4) in rushing with 100 yards in 14 carries. LeJuan Gibbons had 91 yards in nine carries.