HOSCHTON - Mill Creek learned the perils of loading up the box to try to stop the ground game in Peachtree Ridge's spread option offense.
That left the Hawks susceptible to big plays, and the No. 9 state-ranked Lions struck for five plays of 30 yards or more - all but one through the air - including two touchdowns to roll to a 28-0 win Friday night at Mill Creek Community Stadium.
Peachtree Ridge quarterback Nick Lombardo was 6 of 12 passing for 151 yards and a score, while Brad Roby was Mr. Versatile once again - rolling up 138 all-purpose yards and scoring on a touchdown reception, a touchdown run on a reverse and an interception.
"(Mill Creek) brought nine in the box and Coach (Patsy) Gliatta as offensive coordinator did a good job calling plays and he and Coach (Matt) Winslette did a great job of mixing it up," Lions coach Bill Ballard said.
"We worked really hard in the off week trying to get the play-action passes going with what we're doing as far as our offensive run scheme goes, and I think that's starting to jell a little bit."
Peachtree Ridge did much of the damage on its first possession on the ground, rolling up 45 of the 81 yards it covered in 10 plays via the rush.
But with Mill Creek focused on stopping the run, Lombardo hit the first of his big pass plays - a 36-yard completion to Willie Udofia - to set up Brandon Stanley's 3-yard scoring run, giving the Lions a 7-0 lead with 4:12 left in the first quarter.
Roby then came up with the first of his big plays by picking off a Russ pass on the first play of the second quarter and returning it 27 yards for a touchdown that increased the Peachtree Ridge lead to 14-0 with 11:40 left in the first half.
Roby then had two long receptions from Lombardo on the Lions' next drive. The first was 31-yard catch to the Mill Creek 17.
"That's what our offense is designed to do," Roby said.
"Make them come up, and when they come up, then beat them deep."
Then, after three big penalties set Peachtree Ridge back to the 38, Lombardo found the speedy Vanderbilt commit down the right sideline for the score to 21-0 with 7:21 left in the half.
Mill Creek tried to answer with some quick strikes of its own as John Russ hit Brandon Hayman for two passes worth 53 yards to reach Peachtree Ridge territory.
The Hawks reached as far as the Lions' 3, but a fumble on first-and-goal was scooped up by Sterling Jones at the 6 with 3:11 left in the half, keeping the Peachtree Ridge lead at 21-0 heading into intermission.
Roby then capped the scoring with a 30-yard touchdown run on a reverse in the third quarter, which, in addition to a punt return and fumble return two weeks ago, gives him touchdowns five different ways in his last two games.
"However I can get it in (the end zone)," Roby said.