Story and photos by Zach Edmondson
ATLANTA — Saturday night spilled into Sunday morning in the Corky Kell Classic, and Collins Hill’s Travis Hunter turned the finale into his own personal showcase.
Collins Hill, led by the No. 1-ranked senior recruit in the nation, bested Brookwood 36-10 on Saturday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Hunter, who has committed to play cornerback for Florida State, hauled in 13 passes for 232 yards and two scores as a receiver and even threw a touchdown pass, a 28-yard strike to wide receiver Cameron Pedro.
Defensively, Hunter had an interception in the third quarter that Collins Hill turned into a 24-yard rushing touchdown by quarterback Sam Horn, a Missouri commit.
“He’s a special dude,” Collins Hill coach Lenny Gregory said of Hunter. “His football IQ is like he’s a coach on the field. When he comes over on the sidelines, he’s telling us what to do, what the other team is doing and what we need to run. He’s gotta be the highest-IQ football player I’ve ever coached; he’s the best football player I’ve ever coached.”
The game was the finale of the 30th annual Corky Kell Classic, a multi-day event showcasing some of the best high school football teams in Georgia.
It was originally set to begin at 8:45 p.m., but thanks in part to Walton’s overtime win over Lowndes earlier Saturday, Collins Hill and Brookwood didn’t take the field until after 10 p.m.
“These kids have been up a long time,” Gregory said after the game, which ended after midnight. “And to be able to fight through this adversity and play the way we played — I love the way we played in the second quarter. It really set us up … I’m just really proud of the kids.”
Brookwood scored first with a 36-yard field goal from kicker JJ Silva.
After that, save for a 24-yard touchdown pass from Brookwood quarterback Dylan Lonergan to wide receiver Stone Bonner in the second quarter, the game was a display of Collins Hill’s potent passing game.
The Eagles went scoreless in the first quarter, but after a 77-yard touchdown pass from Horn to Hunter in the second quarter, their offense would continue to get the ball in the end zone in a variety of ways.
Horn was 31-of-44 for 402 yards, with three touchdowns and two interceptions, and he ran for 44 yards and a touchdown.
Despite the final outcome, Brookwood’s defense showed it could compete.
The Broncos were led by defensive back Patrick Campbell, who grabbed both of Horn’s interceptions.
Campbell recorded three solo tackles, and fellow Brookwood defensive back Michael Haynes tied with Collins Hill’s Jayvon Hatch for most solo tackles in the game with five.
The Brookwood offense simply couldn’t match Collins Hill’s firepower.
Besides the interception to Hunter, Lonergan was 16-of-31 through the air with 197 yards and one touchdown.
The ground game never picked up either, as running back Alexander Diggs led the team with 33 yards rushing.
Brookwood coach Philip Jones said his team still has everything to play for.
“Our focus has to be on staying close as a team and getting better,” Jones said. “At the end of the day, this is a high-profile exhibition game, and it means nothing. All of our goals, and everything we’ve set for ourselves, are out in front of us.”
Gregory knows what kind of weapons his team has this year, but he didn’t take Brookwood lightly.
“Our goal every week is to go 1-0, and we knew Brookwood was going to be tough,” Gregory said. “They’re very well coached.
But the star of the night was undoubtedly Hunter, and Gregory had a simple explanation for why the high school football world keeps talking about him.
“No. 1 player in the country,” Gregory said.