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Eagles trying to find replacement for Perkins

Photo by Brandon Brigman

Photo by Brandon Brigman

SUWANEE -- Charles Perkins is considered one of the greatest running backs to come out of Gwinnett County. The statistics show that he is the best back to come out of Collins Hill.

He holds school records in career rushing yards (3,590) and touchdowns (40). Last season, he accounted for nearly half of the Eagles' offensive yards as he rushed for 1,646 yards and 21 TDs, earning Daily Post offensive player of the year honors.

But Perkins is now preparing for his first season under head coach Paul Johnson at Georgia Tech, while his high school team continues to search for someone who can fill the void in the offense.

"It is kind of hard to do that," said Collins Hill head coach Kevin Reach, a former Eagles assistant who was promoted to his first head coaching job in the offseason. "We have about four or five guys that are all pretty even right now. We still haven't found one that is as good as Charles Perkins."

Although the Eagles have available players at the running back position, only one had over 100 yards rushing in 2009 -- Adam Green's 164 yards with two rushing touchdowns.

Reach said senior Travis Parker, who played mike linebacker in 2009, is expected to take carries at tailback this season to help with the stability in the backfield.

"We're probably going to have to take Travis Parker, who is our mike backer and put him at tailback some this year," Reach said. "We will have to get him about 12 to 15 carries a game."

One weapon the Eagles are counting on in 2010 is the passing game, which is led by senior quarterback Taylor Heinicke. He passed for 1,778 yards in 2009, fifth best in the county.

"(Heinicke) will be our trigger man," Reach said. "He will be that leader that we are looking for."

With the powerhouse running back now at Georgia Tech, Heinicke is embracing the pressure that is now on his shoulders as he admits the offense will be different in 2010.

"There will be some pressure there being the quarterback," Heinicke said. "The team is looking good though. The receivers are stepping up, the linemen are stepping up, and so we should be just fine. We have good running backs and we can back them up. We are not going to have a Charles Perkins, I mean he is a once-in-a-lifetime kind of guy, but we have some good running backs and shouldn't have any problems."

Reach is expecting big things from his experienced receiving corps in 2010 to help Heinicke lead the offense.

"We have some very good receivers in Jeff Glover, Trey Marksberry and Jake Star," Reach said. "We have a good crop of senior receivers coming back and we have some good young ones that will help us out. I feel pretty good about them right now."

Collins Hill hasn't won a region championship since 2004, however it has managed a trip to the playoffs in five out of the past six seasons and according to Heinicke this team is capable of returning there this season.

"We have to just stay composed," Heinicke said. "We have to work hard and control the things that you can control. You can't do anything else than that."