Collins Hill 29, Mountain View 21

If punts and penalties are among your tastes, the edition of Collins Hill-Mountain View’s rivalry played Friday night was for you.

In between 33 penalties, the Eagles got the best of the Bears, 29-21, avenging their loss from a season ago and leaping Mountain View in the Region 6-AAAAAAA standings.

Collins Hill will be tied for or in sole possession of the region’s No. 2 spot – crucial because the top two seeds will host a playoff game. Mountain View is still comfortably in the playoff picture, though the loss could loom large for positioning.

“I don’t know that you can put it into words other than you preach about doing the right things,” Eagles coach Lenny Gregory said. “You’re selling kids on having high character and showing up and working hard and staying focused. That’s a hard job to do in high school football.

“And I am so proud of these kids because we were sitting there in an awkward position where we’d lost two games and both were close. It would’ve been easy for them to tank it. They didn’t. They needed this right here. And I think their resolve and their belief paid off. That’s what’s rewarding. When you’re preaching that and it comes to fruition.

The first half couldn’t have been sloppier. Both teams committed myriad penalties, and Collins Hill was once hit with four consecutive pre-play flags.

Of the 33 penalties, eight were personal fouls or unnecessary roughness. Ten were false starts and four were offsides or encroachment.

“You know, watching film I thought that they did that a lot,” Gregory said. “We try to prepare our kids for that. And they get real chippy. I think they had more personal fouls than us and it showed at the end there.”

“We killed ourselves, absolutely killed ourselves with penalties,” Bears coach Nick Bach said. “We won’t beat anybody if we have that many penalites. We’ve just got to come to the understanding we have to play with discipline. We have to learn from our mistakes, move on and fight our tails of next week.”

The Eagles (5-2, 3-2) opened the scoring with Evan Anderson’s 61-yard sprint just 2:40 into the game. In other words, the Mountain View defense allowed its average points against almost immediately.

Anderson finished the half with just 27 yards on eight other carries, but he exploded after halftime. Towards the end of the third, he had an explosive return to the Mountain View 36. He capped the drive with an 8-yard score. He added an 18-yard touchdown late to put the game out of reach.

Mountain View (6-2, 2-2) answered the initial touchdown with relative ease. Quarterback Matthew Edwards found Georgia Tech commit Malachi Carter down the left sideline for a 15-yard score. Thomas was locked on to Carter upon the snap.

The Edwards-Carter connection revived Mountain View in the third. Carter seemed to be wrapped up, and Eagles players thought the play was dead; there wasn’t a whistle blown. Carter scampered 39 yards to the goal line and pulled the Bears to within 16-14.

Carter completed the hat trick with a 30-yard score halfway through the fourth. A three-star speedster, Carter passed on offers from Louisville, North Carolina State, Iowa State and others to join the Yellow Jackets next season.

The Bears shanked a punt that put the Eagles immediately inside the red zone midway through the second. Collins Hill capitalized with a field goal and led 10-7 at half.

Thomas, who struggled most of the night finding open receivers, was blasted on a throw that Eagles linebacker Jomier Augustine picked off and returned 25 yards to give Collins Hill a two-possession lead.

After Carter’s heads up touchdown, the Eagles responded with Anderson’s score to push their lead to 23-14. The Bears shot themselves in the foot with multiple dead-ball fouls that kept the drive alive and moving for Collins Hill.

At its own 35, the Bears were stuffed on fourth and one in the early fourth. Anderson scored from 18 yards out to put it away.

Mountain View got the ball back with 3:50 left and down eight. Chandler Black intercepted Edwards on the second play to effectively end it.

“Every coach is a competitor and I want to be where there’s the best football in the country,” Gregory said. “I’ve said it, I’ve always felt that Gwinnett County has the best football in the country. It doesn’t get any better than this right here.”

Collins Hill has won three in a row. It hosts North Gwinnett in two weeks. Mountain View takes on Mill Creek before ending the season at Discovery.

“We’re thinking region championship,” Gregory said. “If we can come out and have a game like this against North Gwinnett, you know, the winner of that, if we win, it’s going to be a three-way tie. That’s what we’re focused on right now and trying to win a region championship.”

Collins Hill – 7-3-13-6 – 29

Mountain View – 7-0-7-7 – 21

First quarter

CH – 61-yard touchdown by Evan Anderson 9:20 (Austin Seymour kick)

MV – Malachi Carter 15-yard touchdown catch from Matthew Edwards (Carlos Avala kick)

Second quarter

CH – Rodolfo Gonzales field goal is good

Third quarter

CH – Jomier Augustine 21-yard pick six (Seymour kick no good)

MV – Carter 39-yard touchdown catch from Edwards (Avala kick)

CH – Anderson 8-yard run (Seymour kick)

Fourth quarter

CH – Anderson 18-yard run (two-point conversion no good)

MV – Carter 30-yard touchdown catch from Edwards (Avala kick)