Collins Hill 42, Peachtree Ridge 7

High school football

Credit: For the AJC

Credit: For the AJC

The idea of scheduling a tough non-region schedule – one that included four top-10 teams in the first six weeks -- is paying off for Collins Hill.

The Eagles turned in a consistent effort on both sides of the ball on Friday and rolled to a 42-7 win over Peachtree Ridge in the Region 8-7A opener for both teams.

“We want to get better each week,” coach Lenny Gregory said. “We’ve had a tough non-region schedule and that prepared us for this right here. I believe you’ve got to play tough teams to prepare your kids for this tough region. The result tonight was 100 percent because of our tough non-region schedule.”

Collins Hill beat Class 6A powers Carrollton and Rome and lost to Class 7A No. 1 Grayson, a game that was tied in the fourth quarter. There was no such drama on Friday .

Collins Hill quarterback Sam Horn threw for 267 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Eagles. Horn completed 21 of 26 passes and threw two touchdown passes to Sean Norris and one each to Travis Hunter and Isaiah Richardson.

The Eagles (5-2, 1-0) also got 72 yards rushing and one touchdown from Spenser Anderson. Hunter caught eight passes for 94 yards.

“Our offensive staff did a good job just being patient,” Collins Hill coach Lenny Gregory said. “One thing we learned in those first six games is that we’ve got to be patient and take what the defense gives us. I felt like we were more prepared for the game. We had a great plan.”

Collins Hill, led by intimidating lineman James Smith, was equally efficient on defense. The under-recruited Smith (6-2, 255) entered the game with 27 tackles for loss and 10 sacks and padded his stats. Logan Birdsong had an interception in the fourth quarter.

The Eagles allowed only one run of more than 10 yards, that a 60-yard burst up the seam by Brandon Cade that prevented a shutout and gave up only 247 yards.

“We fell asleep for one play,” Gregory said. “That’s the one thing we’ve been hammering home on our kids, you can’t take a single play off. One play can cost you. We almost played a perfect game.”

Peachtree Ridge (3-1, 0-1) was led by Cade with 106 yards on 16 carries. Nick Best was 8-for-17 for 92 yards, but was replaced in the third quarter by Kyle Kingsbury, completed 6 of 13 for 52 yards and one interception.

It was the first game back for Peachtree Ridge after missing two games because of COVID-19

Collins Hill scored twice in the first half and took a 14-0 lead at halftime. The Eagles scored on a 31-yard pass from Horn to Travis Hunter, who came away with the ball despite being double covered in the end zone. Horn found Shawn Norris wide open in the corner of the end zone for an 8-yard touchdown pass.

Peachtree Ridge was its own worst enemy in the first half. The Lions suffered some key penalties, including an intentional grounding call, and two short punts that gave Collins Hill a short field.

Collins Hill scored on its first play of the second half. After Norris returned the kickoff to the 42, the Eagles struck quickly when Horn rolled right and found tight end Richardson in stride for a 58-yard score.

Peachtree Ridge answered with its only score. On the second play, Cade ran up the middle for a 60-yard run. But Collins Hill answered with a 16-play drive that ended with Anderson’s 1-yard run and added late touchdowns a 5-yard pass to Norris and an 8-yard run by freshman Cedric Nash.

The pregame ceremonies also included a moment of silence in honor of Collins Hills' hall of fame wrestling coach Cliff Ramos, who died this week after a long battle with cancer.

About the Author

In Other News