Updated 11:45 a.m. Saturday.
By Michael A. Lough
The Sports Report
Peach County raises eyebrows with dominant romp over Lee County
Little did Lee County know that the 7-0 lead it took with 2:33 left in the first quarter would be the visiting Trojans’ highlight of the evening.
And even that didn’t last long, Peach County scoring on the first play after the kickoff – an 80-yard TD pass from Jaydon Gibson to Noah Whittington – to get within 7-6. The missed PAT? Didn’t matter, Peach County going on for an impressive 40-17 win at Anderson Stadium.
The defending Class 3A runner-up beating the two-time defending 6A champ wasn’t necessarily a surprise or a shock. Peach County returned almost everybody, and Lee County lost a slew of players, especially on defense.
And the Trojans were at home. The Trojans’ last five losses at home? To 4A No. 4 Mary Persons 35-21 last year, to 5A No. 7 Warner Robins in 2017, 13-7 to No. 1 Greater Atlanta Christian in the 2016 semifinals and 49-31 to 6A No. 1 Houston County and Jake Fromm in that year’s opener, and to 5A No. 7/8 Warner Robins in the 2015 opener.
But the solidness of the win?
Lee County was held to 240 yards on 57 snaps, Peach County’s defense turning in 12 negative plays from scrimmage.
Lee County won 33-0 last year in a game that was stopped with 9:02 left in the fourth quarter because of weather.
“We didn’t play worth a damn,” Campbell said. “We played with fear in our eyes last year. … We had some guys last year scared, to be honest with you. You could tell in their eyes, for whatever reason.”
When was the last time that happened?
“Yeah, I know.”
No seriously, when?
“I don’t know.”
So Campbell wanted to see the opposite in the rematch.
“We didn’t show up last year,” he said. “That’s something we wanted to tonight.”
Whittington – who finished with 139 yards on 10 carries - added a 28-yard score and it was 13-7 at halftime.
It was pretty much over soon after.
“Offensively, I didn’t think they could stop us,” said Campbell, noting Lee County didn’t differ from what it showed in the first two games. “(Offensive coordinator Todd Cooper) did a great job of mixing things up. … They didn’t really stop us all night.”
Peach County ran 33 times for 252 yards, and Gibson was a sizzling 9-for-11 for 228 yards, 171 of those yards going to Justin Harris. The hosts doubled up the visitors in total yardage, 480-240.
Lee County’s onside kick to open the second half didn’t go far, but Whittington quickly did, going 66 yards for a touchdown. Two minutes later, Harris got behind the secondary and hauled in Gibson’s pass for a 53-yard touchdown, and suddenly the possibility for a running clock cropped up, the lead up to 25-7 and the Trojans clicking.
The lead grew at the 6:57 mark on Gibson’s 7-yard run on fourth down, and the running clock enforcement became a reality on Dorrian Smith’s 32-yard TD catch, the fourth touchdown Gibson had a hand in, with 33 seconds to go in the third quarter.
Peach County in consecutive weeks has beaten the two teams that played for the Class 6A title last season.
The visiting Trojans gave up almost 40 in a 42-38 win in the 2017 Class 6A semifinals, the last time they surrendered any substantial point total. It was the most points against Lee County since falling 42-7 to Lowndes in 2015, a week after coughing up even more in a 54-17 loss to Colquitt.
The last smaller-classification team to hit 40 was 4A Dutchtown in 2009, a 46-28 win. Lee County was ranked nationally by CalPreps (78), High School Football America (71), and Massey (51) before kickoff, as well as the consensus No. 1 in 6A in Georgia.
Campbell is quick to not overstate the win, and the stir it caused. Still, yeah, it’s up there high on the list of the 134 wins under his leadership.
“Not from the standpoint of the win, but how the kids just came out and how they played,” He said. “I challenged them, because we didn’t have a good week of practice. I challenged ‘em, and I thought they played as hard as you can play, a lot of effort, a lot of pride.”
“Like I told the kids, it’s game 2. We ain’t done nothing. Yeah, it’s a big win against a good opponent. But this don’t define anything. But it is a big win.”
Westside 33, Perry 13
The Seminoles jumped out to a 14-3 first quarter lead, Perry closed to within eight by halftime, but Westside slowly eased away in the second half for the non-region win. Perry was threatening, but fumbled inside the 5. A few plays later, the Panthers sacked quarterback Victor Dixon for a safety, and then scored on their next possession to pull within 21-13. But the Panthers couldn’t get anything going consistently in the second half, and the Seminoles were just steady enough on both sides. Dixon’s short keeper with 4:01 left in the third quarter put the Seminoles up by two scores, and they added one in the final minutes of the fourth quarter.
Aquinas 47, Wilkinson County 0
Bleckley County 28, Telfair County 21
The Royals trailed 14-10 after three, failing on a fourth and goal, but came back and won it on Dominic Sasser’s 6-yard quarterback keeper with 2:12 left. Bleckley County led 10-7 at half, on a Sasser TD pass to Bryce Bailey and Hugh Cairney’s PAT.
Bowdon 24, Monticello 7
Central Talbotton 26, Crawford County 19
Dublin 35, Swainsboro 13
The well-rested Irish showed no rust, finishing strong with a 21-6 second half and holding Swainsboro scoreless in the second half until only 17 seconds remained. The Irish outrushed the Tigers 262-155, despite running 16 fewer plays overall. The total offense advantage was 329-286. Marcus Adams went for 130 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries, JaQues Evans adding 110 and one on eight tries. Quarterback Kendell Wade was 2 for 2 for 67 yards with a TD.
Fitzgerald 30, Dooly County 0
George Walton 14, Stratford 10
Stratford trailed from the start, and was down 14-7 at halftime, thanks to a TD pass from Dell Sikes to Jack Miscall in the final seconds. The Eagles added a 27-yard field goal by James Michael Reeves in the third quarter. Stratford missed a 40-yard field goal in the fourth, but the defense stepped up and kept Stratford alive. The Eagles recovered a fumble, and moved to the 26, but couldn’t convert a fourth down with less than 75 seconds left.
Hancock Central 39, Josey 0
Houston County 54 Rutland 0
The Bears led 47-0 at halftime, taking advantage of a mistake-filled night by the Hurricanes.
Howard 54, Central 19
Howard took the suspense away pretty quick, leading 10-0 at the 3:01 mark of the first quarter and exploding in the second quarter for a 40-6 halftime lead, sparked by a 38-yard TD run from quarterback Jaylon Clark on a fourth and 5 with 4:01 left in the half. The Huskies set a program record for most points in a game, passing by four the mark set against FPD last year. This was the Huskies’ second-largest margin of victory, topped only by that win over the Vikings.
Jeff Davis 53, East Laurens 0
Jones County 56, Northside 33
With a few minutes left in the first quarter, Jones County trailed, at home, by a touchdown. By halftime, the Greyhounds more than got going with 28 second-quarter points, adding 21 more in the third quarter. Hunter Costlow threw for a whopping 420 yards and six touchdowns – four in the second quarter - on 30-of-40 (75 percent) passing. Maleek Wooten caught eight for 187, Jontavis Robertson 10 for 167, and Caden Mutchler seven for 43. Wooten caught three TD balls and Robertson two.
The Eagles managed only 28 yards passing on 15 tries, but quarterback Mason Ford ran for 182 yards and two scores on 15 carries. Andrew Carner led Jones County with 94 yards on 11 tries, the Greyhounds outgaining the Eagles 555-354, running 12 more plays. It was the sixth-most points in Jones County history, and the most points allowed in Northside history, as per the Georgia High School Football Historians Association (www.ghsfha.org).
Lamar County 46, ACE 14
Mary Persons 29, Morrow 28
Mary Persons did a mighty job trying to give the game away, but couldn’t. The Bulldogs led 17-0 three minutes into the second quarter and 29-6 with a little more than two minutes left in the half. But the Mustangs – who went 3-7 and lost this game 62-12 last year – started back with TD right after the Bulldogs scored and then returned a punt 75 yards for a score in the final seconds of the second quarter to pull within 29-20 at halftime. Morrow pulled within one with an eight-minute, 98-yard scoring drive with 4:06 left in the game. And the Bulldogs hung on.
Mt. Vernon Presbyterian 30, FPD 7
Putnam County 43, Greene County 35
Southwest 31, Macon County o
Taylor County 12, Turner County 7
Treutlen 31, Twiggs County 20
Trinity Christian 40, Tattnall 33
The Lions and Trojans went back and forth all night. Tattnall led 19-18 in the third, then lost the lead to 25-19 entering the fourth. The hosts got it back 51 seconds into the final quarter, but the visitors answered two minutes later with a long scoring pass for a 33-26 lead. TC made Tattnall pay for a turnover and scored with 5:19 left for a 14-point lead that Tattnall cut in half with 2:27 left.
Upson-Lee 27, Harris County 14
Veterans 33, Baldwin 23
West Laurens 42, Dodge County 28
The Raiders seemed doomed, trailing 28-14 in the fourth quarter. But they stormed back in a rollicking, action-packed fourth quarter to take the lead and add an insurance score. It was 14-7 Dodge County, West Laurens tying it 30 seconds into the fourth. Touchdowns by Daylon Gordon and Keldrick Beck (a pick 6) put the homestanding Indians up 28-14. A.J. Mathis found Daniel Dorsey for a 60-yard score right after that, and then the Raiders followed a blocked punt with a 5-yard Mathis touchdown to tie it on Cam Coup’s kick. Christian Covin took it 61-yard for the West Laurens lead, and he added an insurance 8-yard score – after a fumble recovery – inside the final three minutes. And the Raider defense held on.
It was the most points scored by the Raiders in series history, by 15 points, and the most scored by West Laurens against a playoff-caliber team (playoffs in the previous year) since opening the 2014 season with a 42-35 win over Class AA Thomasville (6-5 that season).Wilcox County 48, Hawkinsville 14
Briarwood 46, John Hancock 15
Gatewood 49, Trinity Christian 6
John Milledge 21, Brentwood 10
Defenses dominated, allowing a total of 445 yards in offense. But John Milledge’s passing game was the difference, Patrick McDonel going 9 for 10 for 178 yards. Brentwood had the ball twice as long as John Milledge, running it 53 times for 237 yards to 30 yards for JMA, whose Amaad Foston was held to 35 yards on 14 carries but still scored twice. Schley Moore and Chase Everett teamed for 150 rushing yards for Brentwood.
Thomas Jefferson at Piedmont
Southland 47, Westfield 14
CFCA vs. Calvary
Fullington vs. Lafayette