MOUNT AIRY -- After closing out strong in a season-opening loss, and securing a victory on the last play of a week ago, Collins Hill set out to put an entire game together Friday night at Habersham Central.
After a 52-0 win by the Eagles (2-1, 1-0) and a 493-228 edge in total yards, their coach Kevin Reach was pleased with the Region 7-AAAAAA opening win, despite his team collecting 90 yards on 10 penalties.
"We played four quarters together start to finish," Reach said. "We played well on offense, defense and special teams. We had a few too many penalties, but we needed a game like this."
Habersham Central (0-3, 0-1) remains winless.
Quarterback Brett Sheehan helped make sure the Collins Hill offense got on track. Forced to take a timeout after its first play from scrimmage, the Eagles offense had few stumbles afterward. Sheehan finished with 275 yards on 22-of-25 passing with three touchdowns. He also closed out the final Collins Hill drive of the second quarter with a 40-yard TD run.
Sheehan said better preparation helped produce a big night for the offense.
"We had a better week of practice," Sheehan said. "Our receivers were great, and our O-line did a good job of executing."
Having a good corps of receivers helped give Sheehan the rushing score, he said.
"Our receivers do a great job, and people have to respect them," Sheehan said. "That left me a lot of room to run."
The senior quarterback hit five different receivers in the first half with a 40-yard strike to Grant McDonald for one score and Julian Williams on a tunnel screen good for another 15-yard score.
Williams led all receivers with 75 yards on six catches. Justin Wyatt caught five balls for 62 yards and a TD.
Tyler Henderson provided punch on the ground as well, with 81 yards on 10 carries and one TD, all in the first half. Thomas Harris and R.J. Burnette also picked up rushing scores in the second half, as the team finished with 218 yards on the ground on 27 carries.
On defense, the Raiders' double wing offense produced several big gains in the first quarter with counters, fakes and gives. Collins Hill progressively made adjustments and kept any further first-half drives no deeper than their 29.
"When you play against the option, you've got to play assignment football," Reach said. "It was hard for us to simulate that in practice with our scout team. They gave us a few fits, but we settled down and started playing our assignments."
Jimmy Fordyce led the Raiders with 60 yards on 10 carries, while the team gained 163 on the ground on 40 attempts. Habersham Central had 65 yards through the air on Jake Tench's 4 of 15 night.
Quentin Jones had 85 yards on two punt returns, including a 54-yarder late in the third quarter. More yards could have come via the return if not for several Eagles penalties.
A week after his field goal clinched a 24-22 win over Dacula, Mitchell Blanchard gave the deciding points again -- this time with a 23-yard field goal to cap the Eagles' first drive to open the scoring. All seven of his extra points were good and all eight kickoffs reached the end zone for touchbacks. After the first field goal, every other Collins Hill drive of the night reached the end zone.
While the Eagles showed plenty of promise in their opening drive, Sheehan said the team decided to not accept 3-point drives the rest of the game.
"We came off (after the opening drive), and everyone said 'We're not going to settle for field goals,'" the quarterback said. "We were able to punch it in every time after that."