If the season opener is any indication, it looks like No. 9 Peach County is in store for a bounce-back season.
Not that 8-4, the Trojans’ record in 2013, was horrible. It just wasn’t up to historic Peach County standards. So in the season opener Peach went out and knocked off Class AAAAA Warner Robins 19-0.
That righted a lot of wrongs from last year. Not only did it remove the bitter taste left by last year’s 54-21 drubbing by Warner Robins, it also signalled the defensive improvement for which coach Chad Campbell had craved.
While the defense was standing strong, the offense was showing the ability to hold onto the ball and eat away yards and time. Peach had scoring drives of 17, 10 and 15 yards. Keyshawn Lowe, a holdover from last year, scored on a 4-yard run, Robert Allen threw a 6-yard touchdown to Kevin Nixon, and James Jackson scored on a 22-yard run.
Here’s what else we learned on Friday night:
Westside finds a QB
If there were any doubts about the quarterback situation for No. 10 Westside-Macon it was alleviated with Friday’s 49-14 with over Rutland. Dre’Quan Taylor made his first start for the Seminoles and threw for three touchdowns and ran for another. Cedric Hollingshed also ran for 149 yards and one score for Westside.
Taylor completed 4 of 5 passes for 191 yards. Hollingshed carried eight times for 149 yards, the bulk of Westside’s 249 yards rushing. Steve Deophus caught three passes for 123 yards, including touchdowns of 16 and 64 yards.
Go ahead and mark the date: Westside plays Peach County in Fort Valley in the game that will decide the Region 2-AAA championship.
A Comeback for Calhoun
Things didn’t appear ducky when Calhoun allowed Dalton to score a pair of touchdowns within the first five minutes. But that’s the the Yellow Jackets began to turn things around.
No. 2 Calhoun got two touchdowns from Cole Jackson and a clutch performance from Payton Veraldi, who intercepted a pass and completed 13 of 21 for 143 yards in a 21-14 win over rival Dalton.
Calhoun controlled the second half against its old rival and beat Dalton for the sixth straight time. Calhoun had a 17-play, 88-yard drive in the third quarter that chewed up nearly the whole period and concluded with a 7-yard touchdown from Jackson, who also had a 4-yard touchdown.
Veraldi came up with the interception that turned the game around in the fourth quarter and set up the Jackets’ winning score. That came on an 8-yard run from Olico Dennis.
The Calhoun defense did its part, too. They blocked one field goal, stymied a faked field goal attempt and came up with another key interception.
Region 4-AAA is going to be fun
No. 4 Cedar Grove scored its first-ever win over Southwest DeKalb, 34-6; No. 6-ranked Blessed Trinity overwhelmed Class AAAA No. 7 St. Pius 42-20; and Westminster scored a 13-10 win over arch rival Lovett, No. 2 in Class AA. Plus, South Atlanta beat Douglass 26-20 in overtime.
Cedar Grove back LaBron Morris ran for three touchdowns on runs of 10, 18 and 40 yards and Trey Shaw added a 20-yard touchdown run. The Grove’s defense, which has so much promise, did not allow a score, as SWD’s lone touchdown came on a kickoff return.
Blessed Trinity running back Milton Shelton rushed for 150 yards on 20 carries. He scored three touchdowns on runs of 2, 7 and 22 yards. He ran for 55 of the 80 yards on one of the Titans’ eight-play scoring drives.
Westminster was sparked by the big plays of Cole Haverty, who is better known for his abilities with a lacrosse stick. Haverty had a key interception to kill a Lovett drive and caught a 23-yard touchdown pass from Rankin Wooley. The win also break’s Lovett’s two-game winning streak in the of “Battle of Paces Ferry Road” series.