Peach County’s hour-long trip to Class AAAA Mary Persons Friday provides the top-ranked Trojans an opportunity to think about redemption.
Not only is top-ranked Peach trying to rebound from its 32-31 overtime loss to Class AAAAAA Houston County last week, it’s facing a program that beat the Trojans 35-21 at home last season. The loss snapped a seven-game winning streak for Peach against Mary Persons.
Peach should be favored in this game. The Trojans have beaten two of Class AAAAAA's top programs -- Northside-Warner Robins and Lee County, which was ranked No. 1 at the time. Mary Persons is 2-2 after losses to Gainesville 27-21 and Lovett 29-27 last week. It’s beaten Jackson 36-29 and Morrow 29-28.
The Trojans have scored 14 touchdowns this season, 10 rushing from seniors Jaydon Gibson, Tijah Woolfolk and Noah Whittington. Against Houston County, Whittington had 18 carries for 69 yards and three touchdowns. He has carried the ball 42 times for 230 yards and five touchdowns. Woolfolk isn’t far behind with 30 carries, 225 rushing yards and two touchdowns, both coming in the victory against Class AAAAAA Northside, when he had four carries for 100 yards. Gibson has run for 161 yards on 24 carries with three touchdowns this season.
The Trojans rushed for five touchdowns against Houston County last week, three from Whittington and two from Gibson. But Gibson’s two interceptions proved costly. Gibson has completed 27 of 42 passes for 453 yards and three touchdowns this season, and the two interceptions are the only blemishes on his stat sheet.
His receivers have been effective when the running game has been ineffective. Senior Justin Harris has 15 receptions for 188 yards and a touchdown. Whittington has three receptions for 98 yards and a touchdown. Dorrian Smith has caught four passes for 57 yards and a touchdown.
On defense, Clemson commitment linebacker Sergio Allen is leading with 19 total tackles – 14 solo and five assisted. Senior Daelin Smith has 17 total tackles – 12 solos and five assisted. Talique Allen has added 14 tackles, 10 solos and four assisted, and Jaqualin McGhee has added 12 tackles – eight solo and four assisted.
After Mary Persons, Peach will enter 4-AAA play next week against Kendrick.
Here are some other games worth monitoring:
-- No. 5 Greater Atlanta Christian vs. Class AAAA Thomson: GAC beat Thomson 42-14 last season in program’s third meeting. Thomson won the first game in 2012, 36-27. The Spartans won 56-12 in 2013. Last week, GAC rested after beating Prestonwood Christian, a lauded Texas program, 34-27. Senior quarterback Jackson Hardy is 30-of-59 passing for 443 yards and three touchdowns this season. Tyler Bride controls the running game with 44 carries for 442 yards and five touchdowns and has rushed for more than 100 yards in two games. His five touchdowns all came against Prestonwood, when he carried 28 times for 245 yards in a game which the Spartans gained 262 rushing yards. Senior Montae Bailey has 22 carries for 120 yards and a touchdown. Junior Tre Henry has 13 carries for 87 yards and a touchdown. Hardy has rushed 11 times for 53 yards and a touchdown. Receiver Brooks Miller, a junior, has seven catches for 106 yards. Junior Thomas Lowman has five catches for 31 yards and a touchdown. Henry has two catches for 99 yards and a touchdown. Bailey has two catches for 19 yards and a touchdown.
-- No. 4 Pierce County at Class AAAA Bradford, Fla.: A nearly three-hour drive will take Pierce County to Bradford High School on Friday. Bradford, located between Gainesville and Jacksonville, is 1-1 and ranked as the No. 20 team in Florida’s Class AAAA, according to MaxPreps. Pierce is coming off a 49-40 victory against Class AAAAA New Hampstead. In the first two weeks, it beat McIntosh County Academy 49-7 and Bacon County 50-0. Quarterback Jermaine Brewton is 20-of-29 passing for 442 yards and four touchdowns and one interception. He has rushed for 111 yards and three touchdowns on 25 carries. Brewton has passed to three receivers for touchdowns: Sophomore Luke Bennett has three catches for 115 yards and two touchdowns; Quavien Bell has seven catches for 89 yards and a touchdown, and D.J. Bell has one reception, a 45-yard touchdown. L.J. Newton leads the running game with 28 carries for 179 yards and a touchdown.
Class AAA weekend schedule
1. Peach County (2-1) at Class AAAA No. 9 Mary Persons (2-2) on Friday.
2. Cedar Grove (2-2) off. At Lovett on Sept. 27.
3. Calhoun (3-0) vs. North Murray on Friday.
4. Pierce County (3-0) at Class AAAA Bradford, Fla. on Friday.
5. Greater Atlanta Christian (2-1) vs. Class AAAA Thomson on Friday.
6. Hart County (4-0) off. Will host Jackson County on Sept. 27.
7. Appling County (3-0) at Cook on Friday.
8. Lovett (3-1) off. Will host Cedar Grove on Sept. 27.
9. Crisp County (2-2) vs. Class AAAAAAA South Gwinnett on Friday.
10. Liberty County (1-0) off. Will host Richmond Hill on Sept. 27.
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