Photo: David McGregor Grayson's Wayne Gallman (4) and David Kamara (3) tackle Collins Hill running back Jordan Parker (21) during the first quarter of Friday's game.
LOGANVILLE -- Other than a late touchdown, nothing went wrong for Grayson.
The Rams scored on all but four drives, and two of them were stopped by the clock. The defense didn't allow a touchdown until late in the fourth quarter with the starters watching from the sidelines and helped the scoring with a safety. On special teams, Grayson converted a pair of two-point tries and recovered a fumble for a kickoff.
It all added up to a 32-7 domination over Collins Hill to open Grayson's playoff run. The Rams advance to play the winner of tonight's game between Stephenson and Lowndes and will host the second round on Friday.
"I felt like the whole team played a complete game," Grayson head coach Mickey Conn said. "Our offense moved the ball and we were able to finish drives. And defensively we held them in check all night.
"I am really proud of our offense the way they were able to move the."
Grayson established its domination from its very first drive. The Rams took a Collins Hill punt that pinned them on the 13 and just marched straight at the Eagles' defense. The drive lasted 7:07, took 13 plays and included a fourth down conversion run by Robert Nkemdiche at midfield. It ended with a 2-yard sneak by quarterback Nick Schuessler.
"That was a great opening drive," Conn said. "The guys up front really dominated the line of scrimmage. That is the key in a game like this, in a Gwinnett game."
For the entire first half, only the clock stopped Grayson as the Rams built a 22-0 lead.
Schuessler punched in his second touchdown on Grayson's next possession and Collins Hill fumbled the next kickoff giving the Rams the ball on the Eagles' 25. Four plays later, Devin Gillespie scored the Rams final first half touchdown from five yards out.
Along with the fumble recovery, the Rams' defense also picked off Collins Hill in the end zone on fourth down from the 16. Even with two completions over 20 yards, Collins Hill only managed 65 yards in the first half, minus-1 rushing.
"It was fun," Junior Jake Mueller said of the defense's effort. "The reads were easy and it was fun to do. It's more intense in the playoffs."
Out of half, things only got better for the Rams. Wayne Gallman capped a nine-play, 71-yard drive from 8 yards out, forcing his way into the end zone. Of the eight Rams who carried the ball, Gallman led the team with 58 yards. The final four went for the touchdown.
Collins Hill got its first stop when Grayson fumbled the ball on the Eagles' 10-yard line, but the Rams defense made up for the turnovers. In two plays, Collins Hill went backward 10 yards with Nkemdiche sacking, or more like pushing, Collins Hill's Brett Shaheen down in the end zone for a safety.
With his pair of two-point conversions to go with his safety, Nkemdiche totaled six points without scoring a touchdown. He did rush for 39 yards on seven carries, including a pair of fourth-down conversions.
"It's awesome, man," Nkemdiche said of running the ball. "I just run behind my big ol' linemen, I love them. I just run behind them and find holes."
Collins Hill scored late in the fourth quarter to avoid the shutout on a pass back to Shaheen from Conor Boston from 12 yards out. Shaheen ended the game throwing for 101 yards on 11 of 20 passing. Despite being hobbled by an ankle injury, Nick England led the Eagles' with five catches for 28 yards.
"They are probably as good as team as we are doing to face. We knew we were going to have to play exceptional," said Collins Hill head coach Kevin Reach. "They are hard to stop. I am proud of our kids."