CUMMING - After a dismal 0-5 start in the first half of the season, Collins Hill remained perfect after the turn with a gutsy 16-7 win over Forsyth Central on Friday night.
The win, sparked by Collins Hill's defense, improved the Eagles to 2-5 overall and 2-3 in Region 7-AAAAA.
"We played so well on defense," Collins Hill head coach Larry Sherrill said. "I just can't say enough for them. They played their hearts out and played with guts and courage. I called them the Magnificent 11 after the game."
The game started out looking like it was going to be a Collins Hill blowout as the Eagles put nine points on the board in the first 3:30, thanks in large part to Brad Wood.
Wood accounted for the game's first two points on the second play of the game when he pressured Forsyth quarterback Cody Majors in the end zone, forcing an intentional grounding penalty that was ruled a safety.
On the ensuing free kick, Collins Hill started with great field position after a personal foul against the Bulldogs, putting the ball at the Forsyth 32.
Six plays later, quarterback Brent McDonald hit Wood in the back left corner on a nice fade pattern for the touchdown with 8:35 left in the first to give Collins Hill a 9-0 lead.
"Brad (Wood) has played well all season long," Sherrill said. "The last two or three games, he has really come into his own and played great."
Forsyth (2-5, 1-4) used some sharp defense to get back in the game in the second quarter when Brad Carroll came up with a huge interception.
McDonald attempted a screen pass to his right but overthrew his target. Carroll easily picked off the errant throw and ignited the home crowd with a 72-yard return for the TD with 5:21 to play in the second.
Trailing 9-7, Forsyth had a couple of golden opportunities in the second half to take the lead but, once again, Collins Hill's defense rose to the challenge. On two different possessions, the Bulldogs drove close enough for a field goal attempt but came up empty both times.
The first of those, a 37-yard attempt by Marco Don Juan, was partially blocked by Josh Sneed while the second, a 35-yard try with 5:49 left to play, was hooked wide left.
"We pressured their kicker into missing two field goals I just knew he was going to make," Sherrill said. "That was a big thing."
After Don Juan's second missed field goal, Forsyth's defense forced the Eagles to go three-and-out and took possession on its own 39 after a Binner punt.
The drive's third play proved to be the game's turning point as Nick Smith picked a Majors pass right off his shoe tops for the Eagles' third forced turnover of the game.
Collins Hill then got its offense going when McDonald, who finished 8 of 18 for 85 yards and a TD, hit Drew Swick for a 29-yard gain to the Forsyth 14.
The next two plays were to running back Charles Perkins, who put the game out of reach with a 4-yard TD run with 2:21 to play. Perkins finished the night with 55 yards and one TD on 25 carries.
COLLINS HILL 16
FORSYTH CENTRAL 7
Collins Hill: Safety, 11:12
Collins Hill: Brad Wood 8 pass from Brent McDonald (Sean Binner kick) 8:35
Forsyth Central: Brad Carroll 72 INT return (Marco Don Juan kick) 5:21
Collins Hill: Charles Perkins 4 run (Binner kick) 2:21