Peachtree Ridge 25, Northview 14

DULUTH - Junior Fullback Chris Sawdey took a handoff and popped through the line to race 60 yards for a touchdown, sparking Peachtree Ridge to a 25-14 win over Northview in the teams' Region 7-AAAAA opener on Friday night.

Coach Bill Ballard's Lions showed maturity in coming back from a 14-13 halftime deficit on the road and salted away a hard-fought win against a Northview team that showed they are not to be taken lightly in region play.

"We had to settle down in the second half and play more consistently," Peachtree Ridge coach Bill Ballard said. "But we ran into a solid team in Northview and we are happy to get our first win of the year."

Sawdey's touchdown and then another score on a 7-yard pass from Nick Lombardo to wide receiver Mitchell Williford later in the third quarter proved to be too much for Northview to overcome. Lombardo was effective passing all night and completed 7 of 12 attempts for 84 yards and two touchdowns.

The first half was a wide-open affair with both teams showing moments of offensive brilliance with big plays.

Peachtree Ridge looked to be in command of the game in the early going by stopping the Titans on downs the first possession and then returned a punt to midfield. The Lions methodically marched 50 yards on 10 plays with tailback Brandon Stanley scoring the game's first touchdown on a 13-yard run that showed good second effort in breaking a couple of tackles.

But Northview went back up 14-7 before the Lions came back with another sustained drive of 10 plays that culminated with a 10-yard pass from Lombardo to tight end Connor Orr with 1:57 left in the first half. The extra point kick failed and thus Northview remained ahead, 14-13 at halftime.

After the two scores in the third quarter, Peachtree Ridge's defense stiffened and kept Patrick and company in check despite playing the entire game without the services of standout senior linebacker Kevin Minter, who was held out with a bad shoulder.