Collins, East Forsyth Upset Mt. Tabor

KERNERSVILLE, N.C. --- David Collins' East Forsyth Eagles remained undefeated Friday night with a 28-19 upset of Mount Tabor, which featured fellow North Carolina pledge Hunter Furr.

"It is everything for us," Collins said of the victory. "We've never had this kind of [win-loss] record…. Our defense played a heck of a game. I can't complain about anything."

Collins, a 6-foot-8, 288-pounder, started and saw every offensive snap at left tackle.

"I wasn't up to par today," Collins said. "I wasn't playing very good today, but everyone else around me stepped up."

Contributing to Collins self-described disappointing play was lining up opposite one of the state's top defensive ends, Parker Thomas, who verbally committed to UNC to play baseball.

"It was probably one of the best competitions I'm going to have all season," Collins said. "He's a great athlete. He played a good game. Of course, he crossed my face a couple of times – I have to get back on track on Monday in practice."

One of the keys to East Forsyth's victory was containing Furr. The 6-foot-1, 201-pound tailback rushed for 83 yards on 19 carries. Prior to Friday's game, Furr had averaged 175 yards and over three touchdowns a game.

"They just stacked the box," Furr said. "They had eight – sometimes nine – [in the box] during the game. They were keying on me a little bit. They were just well-prepared; well prepared by Coach [Todd] Willert."

In the first half, Furr was utilized more often as a blocker/decoy. He rushed only eight times for 33 yards.

"I like to have the ball in my hands, but if I have to block for another ‘back [and] that's what's working that's what I'll do," Furr said. "I take a lot of pride in blocking for other people."

Late in the third quarter with a 21-17 lead, East Forsyth's star quarterback Danny O'Brien, who is verbally committed to Maryland, suffered a hip flexor strain that would keep him on the sideline for the remainder of the game.

"We stepped up [when O'Brien left the game]," Collins said. "Danny is our leader, so we feel for him. If he goes down, the whole team just feels like they have to step up."

Step up they did. East Forsyth kept Mount Tabor out of the end zone the entire second half and, despite O'Brien's absence, even added a touchdown early in the fourth quarter to make it a two-possession game.

Outside of good luck text messages on the eve of game day, Collins and Furr, who have become friends through the recruiting process, didn't communicate all week long.

"He's one of my good buddies, but when he's on the field, he's my enemy," Collins said. "During the game, he is my opponent and I have to go hard on him."

East Forsyth, now 5-0, will travel to Clemmons next week to take on West Forsyth, while Mount Tabor, now 4-1, faces Greensboro (N.C.) Northwest Guilford.

***

Both Collins and Furr were in attendance for UNC's 35-27 season-opening defeat of McNeese State and also caught a glimpse of the 44-12 rout of Rutgers.

"It's been awesome," Furr said of UNC's 2-0 start. "They've got the program turned around and hopefully they'll continue to rise."

Saturday afternoon, Collins and Furr will return to Kenan Stadium to watch UNC's ACC opener against Virginia Tech.

"I can't wait for [Saturday]," Collins said. "I think they're going to show who they are and where they belong in the ACC."

Furr will be accompanied by his teammate Chris Manns, a 6-foot-2, 305-pound junior defensive tackle.

"Coach [Steve] Hagen came to our game last week against Parkland and he noticed [Manns]," Furr said. "He is a 300-plus-pounder who does double back flips from a standing – so he's pretty athletic. [Hagen] said just bring [Manns] and get him used to the program."

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