CSS Game of the Week: Highly-ranked Bulldogs await Eagles’ high-flying attack

Ty Freeman

Collins Hill (Ga.) at No. 7 North Gwinnett (Ga.) [rankings based on CSS Southeastern top 25 Poll] features two teams that are built to throw the football. Last week Collins Hill quarterback Tyler Herman tossed touchdowns to four different targets before the Eagles entered halftime with their lopsided 68-0 advantage. The 6-1 Eagles are off to a record-setting pace and a 20 of 36 passing, four touchdowns and school-record 426-yards passing performance by their leader earlier this season earned Herman Gwinnett County Player of the Week honors when his big game lifted the Eagles over ranked and previously unbeaten Peachtree Ridge 35-28.


Tyler Henderson makes large contributions out of the Collins Hill backfield and is having a productive season in the Eagles’ potent attack. Henderson added a 21-yard touchdown run and a receiving touchdown in last week’s blowout. Grant McDonald is a talented two-way playmaker that hauled in a 48-yard touchdown reception and also returned one of three Collins Hill defensive touchdowns in the first half last Friday with his interception return for a touchdown.


On the offensive line is Christian Harris, a 6-foot-6 tackle committed to Duke. Harris and the offensive line struggled against Norcross (Ga.) this season in a 28-0 defeat and will be challenged by North Gwinnett’s deep defensive front with Andrew Butcher, Anree St. Amour, Luis Sobh and Dante Sawyer. Sawyer is a 6-foot-3, 240-pound four-star and has been on recruiting boards since he was a freshman. 12 different players have accounted for the Bulldogs’ 24.0 sacks this season and defensive Coordinator Robert Andrews (previously with 2011 state champion Grayson) has come in this first season and done a solid job.


Head coach Bob Sphire’s son Hayden Sphire quarterbacks North Gwinnett and has completed 110 of 180 passes for 1,649 yards and 25 touchdowns this season. Wide receiver Nate Brown committed to Missouri this season and is having a breakout year as the primary target. Brown leads the talented receiving corps with 15 touchdowns and has had two four-touchdown games. Wideouts Almonzo Brown and Caleb Scott each have six touchdown grabs this year. C.J. Leggett is a 3-star running back that is capable of producing big plays out of the Bulldogs’ backfield. Leggett has carried the ball 87 times for 507 yards and eight touchdowns this season.


North Gwinnett’s depth and talent rivals any team in the state and Collins Hill will have to slow down a long list of playmakers if the Eagles are going to top the Bulldogs for the first time since 2005.

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