MILTON, GA – On a crisp evening, Cambridge used a late punt return and touchdown drive to defeat Chattahoochee 21-20 on Friday, September 28th.
Phillip Michael Collins rushed for 184 yards and three touchdowns. "Collins had a great game, came out entirely different this week with the way he hit the holes," said head coach Craig Bennett. "He is a really good back and we are very excited about him and his future." The Bears leaned heavily on the sophomore as Collins carried the ball 23 times.
"We wanted to try to establish the run and negate some of their blitzes on the inside," said Bennett. "We finished drives and ran the ball well."
Late in the fourth quarter, the Cougars led 20-14 after a 44-yard touchdown pass on fourth down. After the Bear defense forced a three and out, Ridge Polk took the punt and burst through the middle of a pack of defenders. Polk made it all the way to the Chattahoochee 26-yard line. Just three plays later, Collins ran off the right tackle and barreled through a defender into the end zone. The extra point by JT Tinddale made the score 21-20.
"We didn't give up, we kept fighting," said Bennett. "Earlier in the year, when a team scored on us, especially as late as they did, our mentality changed. It didn't the other night."
Another stop by the defense sealed the victory. The Cambridge defense continued to come up with stops at critical moments in the game. "We got off the field when we needed to," said Bennett. "The average fan may say it was an ugly win, and we might too, but it is so hard to win a game in AAAAAA in the state of Georgia. So we will take it and build on it."
The defensive line continued to pursue an athletic Chattahoochee quarterback and came up with four sacks. The Bears only allowed the Cougars to convert 4-of-13 and 3-of-6 on third and fourth down, respectively.
The entire game proved to be back and forth. Cambridge roared out of the opening kickoff with a 12 play, 79-yard drive capped by a two-yard touchdown from Collins. The Cougars struck back with a drive of their own, but the Bears scored with 37 seconds remaining in the half to extend the lead to 14-6. The score came on a 13-yard run from Collins. Chattahoochee then scored 14 unanswered points before the winning touchdown by Collins.
Freshman quarterback Zach Harris performed well with less pressure due to a solid run game. Harris completed 7-of-12 passes for 69 yards with one interception. The big pass of the evening came on a 35-yard crossing route to Chandler Jones.
The victory moves the Bears up to 2-4 with an even 2-2 record in the region. The team will next be forced to travel to take on a formidable Northview opponent. The Titans hold a 4-2 record with impressive wins over Chattahoochee and North Atlanta. "They have really improved," said Bennett. "We have to keep them from making big plays and force them to drive the field on us."
The game kicks off at Titan Stadium at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, October 5th.
article by Jack Sadighian