x_MSC5545.jpg

Collin’s Hill’s Mente Bridge (27) runs after intercepting a pass during Friday’s game played at Collins Hill.

SUWANEE — On a night where superstar Travis Hunter returned to the fold, Collins Hill’s football team showed off its depth to dominate Pebblebrook in the second round of the Class AAAAAAA state playoffs.

Four different Eagles recorded an interception and five different players found the end zone as Collins Hill scored early and often in a 48-6 victory over Pebblebrook at Fahring Field. The Eagles scored through the air and on the ground on offense, added defensive scores on an interception return and a safety and even had a blocked field goal that set up another touchdown in a thorough domination all the way across the board.

“Our kids showed up and really played well in all three phases,” Collins Hill head coach Lenny Gregory said. “That was a really good football team with a lot of really talented players; they’re very explosive. We were worried about their big play capability, and I was proud of our kids for being disciplined and keeping from breaking.”

It started after Mente Bridge grabbed Collins Hill’s first interception of the night by out-leaping his receiver on a fourth down jump ball. Five plays later, quarterback Sam Horn hit tight end Ethan Davis for a 33-yard touchdown, and the Eagles were off to the races. Just over three minutes later linebacker Richard Ransom doubled the lead with an 81-yard pick six thanks to a shifty return around a host of Pebblebrook tacklers up the left sideline.

Pebblebrook operated its offense almost exclusively in four-down territory all night as it desperately tried to keep up with the potent Eagles, but Collins Hill’s defense took advantage of the aggression to create short fields for the offense. Pebblebrook failed to convert on fourth down three times throughout the first half, and all three stops directly resulted in Collins Hill touchdowns. Davis’ second score of the game accounted for one of those early in the second quarter to make it 24-0.

But even in what was about as close to a perfect team performance as possible, Hunter still made his mark in a big way.

The five-star prospect had not played since he suffered an ankle injury on Oct. 1 against Peachtree Ridge, but he came back in full force with snaps on both sides of the ball against the Falcons. He started his night with a 35-yard reception, then announced his presence on the defensive side of the ball with a second quarter interception. And later in the second quarter after a Ryan Stephens 70-yard touchdown run and a Chris Harris interception, Hunter got back in the end zone on offense.

Horn threw up a 50/50 ball down the left sideline that was originally tipped by the Pebblebrook cornerback, but Hunter stayed with the play and scooped it out of the air for a 48-yard touchdown that extended the Collins Hill lead to 39-0. The offense added one more exclamation point to a nearly flawless first half when Horn caught the Pebblebrook defense napping on a quick count and hit a wide open Isaiah Richardson for a 15-yard touchdown in the final minute of the second quarter.

“The ankle felt good,” Hunter said after the game. “I’m back at 100 percent.”

Even in the third quarter after Pebblebrook picked up a fourth-and-goal stop, the Eagles still turned it into points. Asani Redwood flew in and made a tackle in the end zone on a third down swing pass to give Collins Hill a safety and its second defensive score of the game.

“We were just really working on our run fits,” Gregory said about the defense. “We were making sure we were gap sound and where we were supposed to be. We preached it all week long that fundamentally we had to be really great at tackling and we had to pursue the ball, and that’s what we did tonight.”

Collins Hill’s win was its 12th of the season, tying the school record set in last season’s trip to the state championship game. It also secured a spot in the state quarterfinals, the first time in program history the Eagles have achieved that feat in back-to-back seasons. The offense is averaging 41.2 points per game, and the defense is only allowing 6.2 points per game. By just about any metric, the Eagles are the team to beat in the state of Georgia heading into the third round of the playoffs.

And they know it, too.

“Everything we do works,” Davis said. “No defense in the state can stop what we do. What we do, our standard that we hold ourselves to, we push ourselves to a certain level where we’re not satisfied with being up by 10, being up by 17. If it’s not domination, we’re not satisfied.”

COLLINS HILL 48, PEBBLEBROOK 6

Pebblebrook 0 0 0 6 — 6

Collins Hill 17 29 2 0 — 48

FIRST QUARTER

Collins Hill: Ethan Davis 33 pass from Sam Horn (Isaac Bonacci kick) 8:44

Collins Hill: Richard Ransom 81 interception return (Bonacci kick) 5:37

Collins Hill: Bonacci 21 FG 1:48

SECOND QUARTER

Collins Hill: Ethan Davis 5 pass from Sam Horn (Bonacci kick) 11:05

Collins Hill: Ryan Stephens 70 rush (Dion Crawford rush) 3:51

Collins Hill: Travis Hunter 48 pass from Horn (Bonacci kick) 2:42

Collins Hill: Isaiah Richardson 15 pass from Horn (Bonacci kick) :15

THIRD QUARTER

Collins Hill: Asani Redwood tackle in end zone for safety 4:23

FOURTH QUARTER

Pebblebrook: Shannon Payton 4 rush (pass failed) 1:41

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Please log in, or sign up for a new, free account to read or post comments.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.