Peachtree Ridge wins on the road at Newnan

NEWNAN — Peachtree Ridge coach Bill Ballard said this week that he wanted to get the Lions out of their comfort zone by scheduling a game with perennial power Newnan.

Braving the traffic from Gwinnett County to Coweta County apparently wasn’t enough to throw off the Lions’ chi; they looked plenty comfortable while rolling to a 27-17 win, overcoming an early 14-0 deficit.

Justin Watts kicked two field goals and returned an interception 51 yards for the go-ahead touchdown for No. 3 Peachtree Ridge (3-0), which ended Newnan’s 29-game regular-season winning streak.

“I just stayed in my coverage like my coach taught me, the ball was overthrown and I just grabbed it,” said Watts. “We came down here confident. To end their winning streak, that’s a huge win for us.”

Watts’ interception return made it 17-14, and the Lions punched in the deciding score with Diandre Atwater’s 1-yard run that capped a 97-yard drive.

Raham Dixon carried 14 times for 147 yards for Peachtree Ridge, including a 40-yard run that sparked the long drive.

Newnan (1-1) blocked two kicks in the game and got 100 yards rushing from Christopher Robinson, who was hurt on the second play of the third quarter and did not return. Lendell Arnold finished with 129 passing yards for the Cougars.

After two possessions for each team, it appeared Newnan would do whatever it wanted.

The Cougars moved 46 yards in 10 plays to a touchdown on their opening possession, scoring on a 21-yard run by Robinson.

Peachtree Ridge tried a 44-yard field goal on its second series, but Watts’ try was blocked by Newnan’s Tray Matthews, and the ball rolled out of bounds at midfield.

The Cougars then pushed the lead to 14-0, using 15 plays to notch another touchdown, this one on Arnold’s 1-yard dive. Arnold twice kept the drive alive with third-down passes to Shaquille Warner, including a 21-yarder that got Newnan out of a third-and-15 hole.

Peachtree Ridge answered with an eight-play, 76-yard drive, capped by DeWayne Brooks’ 6-yard run with 6:08 left in the first half.

The Lions pulled within four on Watts’ 40-yard field goal with 39 seconds left before intermission.