Collins Hill's C.J. Davis (8) runs the ball after making a catch as he is defended by Mountain View's Kielan Whitner (25) during last week's game.
COLLINS HILL AT PEACHTREE RIDGE
Collins Hill Eagles (7-AAAAAA)
Coach: Kevin Reach
Record: 3-1, 2-1 in region
Last week: Beat Mountain View 40-7
Peachtree Ridge Lions (7-AAAAAA)
Coach: Mark Fleetwood
Record: 2-3, 2-1 in region
Last week: Beat Habersham Central 30-7When: Today, 7:30 p.m.
Last meeting: Peachtree Ridge won 28-27
Directions to Peachtree Ridge High School: From I-85, take the Old Peachtree Road exit and go west. School is roughly two miles ahead on the right
2011: Peachtree Ridge 28, Collins Hill 27
2010: Collins Hill 14, Peachtree Ridge 10
2009: Peachtree Ridge 21, Collins Hill 7
2008: Peachtree Ridge 21, Collins Hill 0
2007: Peachtree Ridge 21, Collins Hill 0
2006: Collins Hill 7, Peachtree Ridge 3
2005: Peachtree Ridge 28, Collins Hill 19
2004: Collins Hill 41, Peachtree Ridge 0
Collins Hill football coach Kevin Reach doesn't have to remind his team about last year's Peachtree Ridge game.
It's been mentioned every day since the Eagles lost in the final seconds a year ago
"This is a game that's been talked about 365 days a year, especially the way we lost last year," Reach said. "It's in the back of our minds."
Collins Hill led 27-14 in the fourth quarter before Peachtree Ridge rallied for a 28-27 victory. The Eagles couldn't get a first down to run out the clock and the defense couldn't stop the Lions' offense. Billy Best threw a 33-yard touchdown pass to Darien Horn with 38 seconds left to pull out the win.
"We played well for three and a half quarters, but didn't play well the last five or six minutes," Reach said.
The loss led to Collins Hill getting the No. 4 seed in the playoffs and had to face eventual state champion Grayson in the first round.
That was a year ago.
Tonight's game has just as much importance as both teams enter the halfway mark of the season. The winner puts itself in position to secure a playoff spot. The loser will have a lot of work to do the rest of the season.
"It puts you in position where you do the math," Peachtree Ridge head coach Mark Fleetwood said. "There's still a lot of football to be played and a lot can happen. It's obvious both teams need to win this game."
Collins Hill (3-1, 2-0) is undefeated in region play. A victory would only make next week's game against undefeated Norcross that much bigger.
"You can take the records and everything we've done at this point and throw them out the window," Reach said. "This is a huge game for us. It puts you where you need to be in the region."
After an 0-2 start to state ranked Camden County and Parkview, Peachtree Ridge (2-3, 2-1) is trying to prove it's a playoff caliber team. The Lions held a 10-0 lead over Mill Creek two weeks ago before losing 20-10.
"It's another region game. We need to win this game," Fleetwood said. "Our team understands where we are and what we need to do."
Peachtree Ridge made some adjustments to its offense after being shutout in the first two games. The Lions have averaged nearly 23 points the last three games. Bryson Sellers will return at quarterback after missing last week's game with an injury.
Walden Davis rushed for 163 yards in last week's win over Habersham Central, while Jordan Ellis added 82 yards.
"I think they are solid all the way around," Reach said. "Athletically, they are the best we've faced."
Collins Hill quarterback Brett Sheehan is fourth in the county in passing with 903 yards and six TDs. The Florida International commitment's favorite targets have been Julian Williams and Justin Wyatt.
"Their quarterback is a returning player. He knows how to get the ball around," Fleetwood said. "They've got good receivers and a good running back and they are good at getting the ball to their key guys."
Peachtree Ridge's win over Collins Hill last year was the fourth in five years of the rivalry. When Peachtree Ridge opened, which is five miles away from Collins Hill, it took students for the Collins Hill cluster. The last two years the game has been decided by four points or less.
"It will be a dog fight like it has been the last couple of years," Reach said.