SUWANEE -- Collins Hill may have demonstrated the blueprint for how to find a way to win in its 2010 season opener.
Despite being outgained and having a dramatic disadvantage in time of possession, the Eagles still found themselves in position to beat Roswell.
And Taylor Heinicke capped the biggest drive of the game with a 1-yard sneak with 4:44 to play, and the defense came up with several clutch plays to help Collins Hill come away with a 13-9 win Friday at Fahring Field.
It was a very satisfying win for the Eagles (1-0), who not only gave Kevin Reach a win in his first game as head coach, but also avenged last year's double overtime loss to Roswell that ended their season in the first round of the Class AAAAA state playoffs.
"Our kids were just so emotional," Reach said. "They wanted this win so bad, we kind of lost our heads at times. We ended up coming back and settling down a little bit and getting the job done."
That was never more evident then when Heinicke and the Eagles took possession with 8:58 remaining after Ty Long kicked his third field goal of the game to give Roswell (0-1) a 9-7 lead.
After running just 27 offensive plays to that point, Collins Hill put together 12 on this possession, with Heinicke completing four of his six pass attempts for 46 yards.
"We just dug deep," said Heinicke, who was 17 of 22 on the night for 167 yards and a touchdown. "We knew we could do it. We showed some courage and we got through it."
That included a fortunate bounce with the Eagles facing third-and-8 at the Roswell 15 yard line.
Heinicke's pass to Andrew Everett was on the mark, but bounced back into the air after he was double-teamed by a pair of Hornet defenders.
However, Zay Howard dove after the loose ball and snagged it for a first down that kept the drive alive at the Roswell 1.
And after two unsuccessful sneak attempts, Heinicke finally found a hole in Roswell's stacked defensive line for the touchdown to vault Collins Hill into the lead.
Roswell, however, wouldn't quit as the last of the Eagles' 12 penalties on the night, combined with a big run by Andrew Kawteng and an 11-yard pass from J.P. Douglas to Matt Deese, set up the Hornets at the Collins Hill 39.
But senior Travis Parker sacked Douglas for an eight-yard loss, and Roswell had no timeouts left, which allowed the clock to run out and preserve the victory for the Eagles.
Collins Hill led at halftime despite running only 14 offensive plays, compared to 33 by Roswell.
The Hornets had four drives of six plays or more in the opening 24 minutes, including marches that took them as deep as the Collins Hill 3 in the first quarter and two drives to the Eagles' 3 and 16, respectively, in the second.
The Eagles were able to dodge the first bullet when they knocked the ball loose from Roswell running back Martez Sumler, and Shayne Charpentier recovered on the 1 with 3:00 left in the first quarter.
Roswell did manage to cap an eight-play, 56-yard drive with Long's 21-yard field goal to take a 3-0 lead with 7:27 left in the first half.
But another Long field goal attempt, this time from 33 yards out, sailed wide left with 44.7 left in the half.
And while Collins Hill didn't have possession of the ball much in the first half -- just 6:06 compared to Roswell's 15:38 -- the Eagles made it count when they did.
After picking up a couple of first downs to move the ball near midfield, Heinicke hit Nick England with a swing pass to the left coming out of the backfield.
The junior running back built up a full head of steam and rumbled down the sidelines 51 yards for a touchdown with 3:56 left in the half, giving Collins Hill a 7-3 lead heading into intermission.