SUWANEE - For a third straight week, Collins Hill's football team kept its fans on the edge of their seats until the last possible second.
The Eagles needed 14 fourth-quarter points and a two-point conversion defense in order to secure victory over Chattahoochee, 35-33 in an offensive shootout Friday night.
"I think the last two games have really prepared our team for a tough game like this," said Eagles head coach Billy Wells. "We had the confidence that we could win a close game."
The Collins Hill offense got off to a torrid start against Chattahoochee led by star running back Charles Perkins. On the Eagles' first drive, Perkins carried the ball on all six plays going 61 yards before punching the ball into the end zone, putting the Eagles up 7-0. Perkins pushed the lead to 14-0 with another early score, leaping a defender near the goal line.
But the Cougars' spread-option offense fought back behind strong performances from quarterback Timmy Byerly and running back Justin Williams. The Cougars got on the board in the second quarter when Byerly kept the ball for a 5-yard TD run. The Cougars scored another TD later in the quarter when Byerly threw a strike to wideout Kevin Martin for a 20 yard TD, but a blocked extra point allowed the Eagles to keep a 14-13 halftime lead.
The Cougars scored two consecutive third-quarter touchdowns on the legs of Williams and Byerly, who scored from 16 and 33 yards respectively, for a 27-14 lead. Collins Hill answered when quarterback Taylor Heinicke launched a perfect pass to Cameron Nolan, getting the Eagles to the 2-yard line and setting up another TD run by Perkins.
After a stop by the defense, the Eagles regained the lead on a methodical 16-play, 89-yard drive capped off by a 2-yard run by Heinicke.
Down by one point, the explosive Cougar offense again looked to have a promising drive going until Eagle defensive back Chris Caspari intercepted a Byerly pass and returned it 43 yards for a TD, giving the Eagles an eight-point lead with 2:49 remaining.
But Byerly would not let the Cougars go down quietly. The gutty quarterback made 61-yard run bringing the Cougars within two points. Just as it looked like they might send it to overtime, Byerly's two-point conversion pass attempt fell short of its target.
Perkins finished with 26 rushes for 146 yards and 3 TDs, while Heinicke went 11-for-21 for 146 yards.
Byerly carried the ball 19 times for 187 yards and a TD and was 12-for-19 passing for 111 yards.