Staff Photo: Jonathan Phillips. Collins Hill's Amiri Abraham (20) keeps control of the ball as Peachtree Ridge's Carlos Estrada (16) loses his footing and flies through the air on Tuesday.
SUWANEE -- The guys wearing the white home jerseys Tuesday night made up a completely different cast, one that contained few faces from the state championship teams of the past two seasons.
Not that it was easy to tell from the result.
Showing the skill and swagger of a Class AAAAA state champion, the third-ranked Collins Hill boys whipped second-ranked and previously unbeaten Peachtree Ridge 7-1 in an important Region 7-AAAAA showdown.
The Eagles controlled play from the start against the upstart Lions, taking a 2-0 halftime lead and building a three-goal edge less than seven minutes into the second half. By the time Fabrice Momo scored his team's seventh goal in the waning minutes, the top-three showdown was well into blowout mode.
"We still have a lot of talent," Collins Hill boys coach Drew Prentice said. "We have a lot of good players in the starting lineup and our bench really stepped up tonight. That's the best they've played all year. We've got just enough to be dangerous again."
Collins Hill (9-1, 2-0) lost most of the offensive firepower from its 2009 and 2010 title teams, but producing chances wasn't a problem in its showdown with the Lions. A Peachtree Ridge defense that had allowed only three goals in its seven matches with Georgia teams this season had no answer for the Eagles.
"We're looking good," said senior Zak Wallingford, one of the few holdovers from last year's title team. "If we keep putting the pieces together, it's going to work out well. As long as we keep working like we have, we'll be good."
Collins Hill had an 8-1 edge in shots on goal and a 3-1 advantage on corner kicks in the first half, consistently pressuring the Lions (9-1, 1-1) from the start.
The Eagles finally struck in the 21st minute when Eli Carrasco's corner kick found Emmanuel Raji, whose header at the back post broke the tie. The second goal was just as pretty, with Raji finding a sprinting Wallingford, who zig-zagged through a pack of defenders and the goalkeeper for a 2-0 edge in the 32nd minute.
Wallingford also scored the third goal early in the second half off an assist from Amiri Abraham, who caused the Lions problems all night. Abraham hit the post twice and finally broke through, scoring the game's fourth goal in the 57th minute by juking through the defense and ripping a left-footed blast.
Abraham made it 5-0 barely more than two minutes later when he lobbed a pass to the back post, where Carrasco finished. Dominic Bonilla then set up Jordan Brust in the 68th minute for the 6-0 lead.
The offensive explosion was plenty for the Collins Hill defense, which kept Peachtree Ridge from threatening until an odd goal in the 69th minute when Branden Green and Eagle goalie Jackson Taylor collided in the air and the ball trickled into the net off a long free kick.
Otherwise, Josh Fancher, Matt Dyck, Mark Riggins, Nima Vojdani, Nomis Cisic and the rest of the Collins Hill defense held strong for a huge win early in the region schedule.
"The things we do well, we did perfectly tonight," Prentice said. "We moved the ball well. We didn't have any silly turnovers. We were solid in the back and we defended well as a team."
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