Following a 49-3 win last week in what amounted to a tune-up against Habersham Central, the Norcross Blue Devils now face their second must-win game in the last three weeks when they play host to the 5-0 Collins Hill Eagles.
The game pits Georgia’s No. 8 team, Norcross, against the No. 9 squad, Collins Hill, with the Eagles coming off a statement win last week against Peachtree Ridge, 35-28. The Lions were the No. 6 team in the state before the Eagles knocked them from the ranks of the undefeated.
Norcross was in a similar position in Week 6 when they faced Mill Creek, and they responded by coming from behind to beat the Hawks, 27-13, but the Blue Devils face a much tougher challenge this week against Collins Hill.
While Mill Creek is a good team, they have not been able to beat one of the Region 7 Big Four (Collins Hill, North Gwinnett, Peachtree Ridge and Norcross) yet. The Hawks are 0-2 against them, having lost to both Peachtree Ridge (31-30) and Norcross (27-13) in back-to-back weeks.
Collins Hill is now 1-0 in match-ups with the other Big Four following the 35-28 win over Peachtree Ridge last week, and has done what they needed to do against the rest of their schedule. In two games against lower tier teams, the Eagles have outscored the opposition by 81 points. They beat Habersham Central, 55-3, and followed that with a 42-13 victory over Mountain View. In two games against mid-tier squads Central Gwinnett and Dacula, which are a combined 5-2 in Region 8 play, the Eagles scored 43 points while surrendering 13. They opened the season by shutting out Central, 22-0.
Reigning Class AAAAAA Champion Norcross has had an up and down season to this point that began in the opening game when they hosted Washington (Miami, Florida) as part of ESPN national kickoff day. The Devils alternated wins and losses after starting out dropping the opener big, 55-0, to Washington. The next outing they downed Parkview, a team that at the time was ranked high in the Class but is still winless going into Week 8, 21-7, before reverting back to Week 1 form in a 36-17 loss to North Gwinnett. Norcross has now put together two straight wins against Mill Creek (27-13) and Habersham Central and need to make it three in a row to stay in the Region title race.
A Norcross loss would drop them to 3-2 in region play, two games behind Collins Hill and likely two behind North Gwinnett since the Bulldogs are playing Mountain View this week. The Devils still would have one game remaining against the Big Four. That game is scheduled for October 25 against Peachtree Ridge and is going to be a battle, so a loss this week will make it difficult for Norcross to stay within striking reach of the Region 8 leaders.
While Norcross is deeper as far as athletic talent, Collins Hill is embracing the team concept and truly is winning as a team. A quick scan of the leader board in Class AAAAAA confirms this. Norcross has the No. 6 rusher, Josh Boyd, and the No. 12 passer, AJ Bush, in Class. Boyd is also one of five players among the Georgia Top 100 (91), including No.1 rated recruit Lorenzo Carter. Myles Autry (19), Kevin Mouhon (31) and Chris Herndon (95) that are on the Blue Devils roster. Christian Harris (93) is the only representative from the Eagles roster on the Top 100.
This will be a back and forth game that will come down to the final minutes. Both teams have proven they can play with composure, but Collins Hill has been more consistent game in and game out. The Eagles also have one quality road win already having shutout the Knights to open the season.
Home field hasn’t proven to be an advantage for Norcross to this point. The Devils lost to both North and Washington, and were outscored 91-17 in the process, in front of the home crowd. They did rebound to beat Mill Creek in Week 6, but Collins Hill is a better team.
Based on the games this writer has seen Norcross (3) and Collins Hill (1) play this season, you should expect the Eagles to pull off a late score to win this one.
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MaxPreps and 247Sports are the ranking sources.