Collins Hill (5-0, 3-0) went into halftime of Friday night’s contest with Peachtree Ridge (5-1, 3-1) trailing 14-12, but outplayed the visiting Lions over the next 24 minutes, including outscoring them 17-7 in the final quarter, to win and remain undefeated while handing the Ridge their first loss of the season.
The Eagles, despite being one of four Gwinnett County teams to be undefeated entering Week 7, have not received the same type of attention (and respect) that Archer, North Gwinnett and Peachtree Ridge have. That will change now. Collins Hill showed poise and heart and made fewer mistakes in the final quarter than Peachtree Ridge, and were rewarded with a W.
Eagle quarterback Tyler Herman had a record breaking night, throwing for 427 yards and four touchdowns on the night, and the Collins Hill defense had back-to-back stops to in the final minute of the game to secure the victory.
Lion QB Chance Thrasher was 24-for-39 passing for 324 yards and a TD, running back Jordan Ellis added 102 yards rushing on 20 attempts as Peachtree Ridge racked up nearly 500 yard (498) of total offense in the loss. The Peachtree Ridge D held the Eagles to just a 2.2 yards rushing per carry average (63 yards on 28 carries).
In a game that saw 751 combined yards and five touchdowns through the air, there were three receivers that broke the 100 yards receiving mark. Myron Burton had 11 receptions for 182 yards for the Lions, while Grant McDonald (5 R, 136 Yds.) and Dwayne Smith (2 R, 105 Yds.) did it for the Eagles.
Collins Hill and North Gwinnett are the only remaining undefeated teams in Class AAAAAA Region 7. The Eagles and Bulldogs will face each other in Week 10 and, if Collins Hill can beat Norcross this week, may both still be unbeaten.
Coach Kevin Reach said of his Eagles after the game that “We have a good team. I felt that we’ve been under the radar this season.”
This writer, as one of those that hadn’t given the Eagles the respect they have now demanded with this win, was impressed with the team effort that Collins Hill put forth. They had been untested to this point, while the Ridge had won two games against better teams than Collins Hill had played, yet the Eagles showed tremendous poise and maturity in the final six minutes.
The Lions had a couple of critical errors down the stretch, as well as being flagged 12 times for 120 yards on the way to their first loss of the season. With just over six minutes to go, the center snap was high and resulted in a 22-yard loss which led to a 4th and 40. While punting from their end zone, the Eagles broke through the line and came up with a block that resulted in a safety to cut the Lion advantage to 28-20.
The Collins Hill student body added to the drama when they rushed the field while the final play was still in progress, resulting in the Eagles receiving a 15-yard penalty and Peachtree Ridge was given one more chance from the Collins Hill 42 yard line with no time left on the clock.
No damage was done and the game came to an end, but it could have been devastating if the Lions had been able to score due to the home team fans behavior. In their defense, it was a HUGE game and the young people had been cheering loudly throughout the game and the emotional rush of defeating the No. 4 team in the state just overtook them.
Coach Reach simply said “They can’t do that and rush the field like that,” but you can be sure there will be an announcement made Monday morning about what that may have led to so that there is not a repeat in the future.
Watch for the Gwinnett Football Weekly Week 7 Recap on Monday
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