Points hard to come by against stingy Peachtree Ridge, Collins Hill

If you like football games with a lot of big plays and a lot of long touchdowns, stay away from this one.

If you like football games where the scoreboard almost shorts out because of all the points being put up, this one isn't for you.

Because when Peachtree Ridge and Collins Hill get together tonight in Suwanee, it will be a matchup of perhaps the two best defenses in the county. And touchdowns and big plays will be just about impossible to find.

"I wouldn't be a bit surprised if it was one of those (low-scoring games)," Peachtree Ridge head coach Blair Armstrong said. "We're both decent on offense, but we're both a whole lot better on defense than we are on offense."

The numbers certainly back that up.

In two games this season, Peachtree Ridge hasn't given up a single point - posting back-to-back shutout wins over Shiloh and Grayson. The Lions have allowed just 288 total yards of offense in the two games, including a meager 93 yards passing.

Now Peachtree Ridge will try for its third goose egg in a row tonight against its region rival from Suwanee.

"You have to realize, that first shutout was a school record," Armstrong said. "We had never had one before. Then that second shutout was a school record, too. We had never had two in a row.

"So we're really proud of that. But we don't take anything for granted. We know one turnover, one miscue, one big play can turn into a score."

Led by Division I recruit Cameron Heyward on the defensive line and Navy commit Phillip Davis in the secondary, Peachtree Ridge has barely allowed teams to move this year.

Senior linebacker Breland Trahan leads the team with 27 tackles in two games.

"We pride ourselves on not letting anyone score," Trahan said. "If we let them score we have to run extra hard on Mondays. For every touchdown we give up we have to run 20s (20-yard sprints) on Monday."

So far, Mondays have been pretty relaxing for the Lion defenders.

On the other side of the field, Collins Hill's defense has been almost as impenetrable as Peachtree Ridge's.

Through two games, the Eagles have allowed a grand total of seven points, coming on a 33-yard touchdown pass to star recruit Israel Troup in their 7-2 loss to Tift County last Saturday. They have given up just 244 yards of total offense - the lowest number for any county team that has played two games.

"Our defense is very good," Collins Hill head coach Larry Sherrill said. "We're very proud of the effort we've had the first two ball games."

Vanderbilt commitment T.J. Greenstone (31⁄2 sacks) anchors a Collins Hill defense that has allowed just 56 yards rushing per game, and has shown great improvement from last season.

"I think Collins Hill has the advantage on defense," said Grayson head coach Mickey Conn, whose team has the distinction of being shut out by both squads this season. "They've got a great defense. That defensive line is unbelievable. I don't know their names, but No. 74 (Greenstone), 90 (Bradley Estes) and 42 (Brad Wood) are all good football players and are very tough."

"We kind of took our lumps last year," Sherrill said. "We played some young guys and they got some experience .... I thought we'd be pretty good this year, but you never know. It's all about matchups.

"Could I have predicted that we would have only given up seven points? No, but I expected to be good. And our players expected to have a good season."

On the flip side, both Peachtree Ridge and Collins Hill's offenses struggled last week. The Eagles, who outgained Tift County in the loss, didn't score a single offensive point and the Lions scored just one touchdown against a very stout Grayson defense.

Now the two offenses have to go up against two very good, very talented defenses that are playing with a ton of confidence.

And why shouldn't they have a little swagger after their performances in the first two weeks of the season?

"You've got to have a little bit of that," Armstrong said. "Those defensive guys have to have a little bit of that. There's an intimidation factor I guess you might say. There are some guys that can just intimidate you.

"Like Phillip Davis, he can cover anybody. He gives (Peachtree Ridge star receiver) Sidney Haynes fits in practice."

The whole Lion defense is used to giving opponents fits.

Of course, it's not like Collins Hill's unit shies away from contact. They're really good, and really confident, too.

"We do believe we are capable of playing this game," Sherrill said.

"If there's a swagger to it, there's a swagger to it. I don't know. Anyone that's in the top of the county defensive stats probably is the same way. The Peachtree Ridge kids have a swagger, too."

Although one of the two hard-hitting defenses might have a bit less after tonight.