The Collins Hill Eagles traveled to North Gwinnett to battle the Bulldogs on Friday night in one of the two big games in Region 7-AAAAAA for Week 10, and handed the No. 1 team in the state their first loss of the season, 53-28.
Collins Hill (7-1, 6-1) head coach Kevin Reach had said earlier in the week that “I like our chances” and after the performance his Eagles delivered in the big win it’s easy to see why.
The Eagles drew first blood after ending their first drive with a field goal, and then jumped out to a 10-0 lead when quarterback Tyler Herman connected with Quentin Jones for a 26-yard catch and run to finish off an 83-yard drive. North Gwinnett (7-1, 5-1) scored late in the opening quarter and, after a two-point conversion, cut the early deficit to two, 10-8.
The second quarter saw Collins Hill add 14 points to 7 by North, and after 24 minutes of football the Eagles found themselves ahead of the top team in the state by a 24-15 count. North QB Hayden Sphire went down with an ankle injury late in the second quarter after completing an 80-yard TD pass to Nate Brown. Sphire did not return to the game, and junior John Urzua took over.
Urzua led the Bulldogs to a strong second half start that saw North score 10 quick third quarter points to grab a one-point advantage, 25-24, after CJ Leggett broke a 28-yard TD run. That would be the only lead of the night for the Bulldogs. Collins Hill bounced back to outscore North 15-3 over the remainder of the quarter, and held a 39-28 lead as the teams headed to the final 12 minutes of play.
Reach remained aggressive in his play calling in the final quarter, saying that “They (North) can score anytime,” and the Eagles added two more TDs while shutting down the Bulldog offense en route to a 25 point victory margin.
Herman was 20 of 35 for 239 yards and three touchdowns through the air for the Eagles, and added another 111 yards rushing and two TDs on 22 carries.
Receiver Caleb Scott led all receivers with 12 catches for 187 yards in the loss for North Gwinnett. Leggett led the Bulldog ground attack with 89 yards on 18 carries.
The victory, combined with the Norcross win over Peachtree Ridge, tightens up the region even more. Norcross (7-2, 6-1) now sits atop the region followed by Collins Hill, North Gwinnett and Peachtree Ridge (6-2, 4-2). Norcross has just one region game remaining, while Collins Hill, North and Peachtree Ridge each have two.
The Blue Devils are likely to finish region play at 7-1 (they face Meadowcreek on November 8) while the other three still have a tough game on their schedule.
Collins Hill still has to face a tough Mill Creek team to end the season after hosting Duluth this week, North faces an improving Mountain View and then ends the season at home against Peachtree Ridge. The Lions will play Meadowcreek next week before the big game with North.
For a football fan, what more could you want? Going into the last week of the regular season, the region title is still to be determined.
Consider this: When play begins on November 8, Norcross is likely to be 7-1 in region with their loss coming to North early in the season. Collins Hill, North and Peachtree Ridge will most likely all be 6-1 with the Eagles loss coming to the Lions, the Bulldogs loss at the hands of the Eagles and the Lions loss also coming to the Eagles.
The possibilities are many, but Norcross can only lose the region if North wins out. If the Eagles win out, they would finish 7-1, but would lose the head-to-head tiebreaker. If the Bulldogs go 7-1, they would capture the region because of their win over the Blue Devils.
Region 7-AAAAAA Week 10 Results:
Collins Hill over North Gwinnett, 53-28
Norcross over Peachtree Ridge, 24-20
Duluth over Habersham, 27-14
Mountain View over Meadowcreek, 49-13
Region 8-AAAAAA Week 10 Results:
Archer defeats South Gwinnett to remain undefeated, 48-31
Dacula over Shiloh, 21-7
Brookwood over Berkmar, 14-0
Parkview over Central Gwinnett, 21-13
Buford joins Archer as the only remaining Gwinnett teams without a loss after beating Fannin County, 45-8
Lanier over Stephens County, 31-14
Examiner was 8-2 in projections for Week 10, and is now 67-20 on the season.
After Week 10 action, the Big Four matchup breakdown looks like this: Collins Hill and Norcross are both 2-1, North is 1-1 and Peachtree Ridge is 0-2 with the North-Peachtree Ridge the only remaining contest between the region leaders.
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