Ever since a shutout loss to their region rival Norcross, the Collins Hill Eagles have been a different, higher-scoring football team. That trend continued into the first round of the AAAAAA state playoffs, as the Eagles cruised to a 41-7 victory over the visiting Walton Raiders on Friday at Fahring Field.
The Eagles (10-1) are the No. 2 seed from Region 7 and will advance to play the winner of South Gwinnett-Alpharetta.
Tyler Henderson rushed for four scores and 111 yards on 24 carries to lead the Eagles’ attack, while the defense collected two interceptions and held the Raiders offense to less than 200 yards. The fourth quarter featured a running clock.
“Our offensive momentum is crazy right now,” said Henderson, who had touchdown runs of 1, 2, 9 and 60 yards. “We’re rolling on all cylinders.”
Collins Hill scored 21 points in the second quarter to all but put the Raiders (6-5) away, taking a 28-0 lead. The Eagles scored on three consecutive possessions, capped with Tyler Herman’s 36-yard touchdown pass to Grant McDonald with 19 seconds left in the half.
The Raiders – a No. 3 seed from Region 5 – never built enough momentum to get themselves into the game. They stopped Collins Hill to open the second half and then used a nine-play, 46-yard drive to score their only points of the game – a 12-yard touchdown run by Jordan McCray. But the very next play from scrimmage, Henderson burned the Raiders for a 60-yard run to put the Eagles up 34-7 with 6:07 left in the third.
Walton’s offense struggled mightily and especially in the first half. In eight possessions, the Raiders punted five times, failed on a fake punt and threw an interception. The second half didn’t fare any better. Following Henderson’s long touchdown run, Walton threw another interception and Collins Hill capitalized, scoring the next possession on Herman’s 1-yard run to bring the score to its final tally with 1:07 left in the third.
The decisive win continues a trend for the Eagles since being shut out by Norcross, 28-0, on Oct. 11. It was their only loss of the season and cost them the No. 1 seed. Since the loss, they’ve averaged 51.2 points a game and have outscored opponents 256-83.
“After the Norcross game, our kids were upset,” Eagles coach Kevin Reach said. “They were upset with themselves and the way they played and they said it wasn’t going to happen again. … We’re clicking right now, and I tell you, our defense is playing phenomenal.”
Walton 0 0 7 0 – 7
Collins Hill 7 21 13 0 – 41
C – Tyler Henderson 2 run (Ian Morrison kick)
C – Henderson 9 run (Morrison kick)
C – Henderson 1 run (Morrison kick)
C – Grant McDonald 36 pass from Tyler Herman (Morrison kick)
W – DJ Smith 12 run (Christian Lucas kick)
C – Henderson 60 run (kick failed)
C – Herman 1 run (Morrison kick)
Follow Adam Krohn on Twitter.