Staff Photo: John Bohn Peachtree Ridge cornerback Ray Buchanan (3) tackles Brookwood wide receiver B.J. Sammon (15) during the second quarter of a playoff game Friday.
SUWANEE -- Brookwood football has always been known for its elite linemen and running backs, but on Friday night, a receiver took center stage.
Senior B.J. Sammon scored three touchdowns, including the game-winner in overtime, to help propel the Broncos to their first-round playoff win 30-24 over Peachtree Ridge.
Two things made Sammon's performance all the more remarkabale. One was the talented Peachtree Ridge secondary in Ray Buchanan and Ahmaad Harris.
The other is his size. Clocking in at 5-foot-9 and 153 pounds, Sammon is almost always one of the smallest players on the field, but his production on Friday night proved that you don't have to be big to succeed in football.
"He's small in stature but big in heart," Brookwood head coach Mark Crews said of Sammon. "He's done a great job for us all year. He has speed, quickness and always plays hard. He is really making a case for the little guys in this sport."
"We knew Peachtree Ridge was going to be locked up in man coverage so we tried to cut him loose. He and (quarterback) Zach Moon did a great job of hooking up."
Sammon's first TD came on Brookwood's opening play of the second quarter when he hauled in a Moon pass down the down the middle and raced in 79 yards for the score.
That TD had Brookwood cruising with a 17-0 lead, but Peachtree Ridge roared back with the next 24 points on the legs of running back Di Andre Atwater, taking a 24-17 lead deep into the fourth.
But with just under two minutes left to play, Brookwood got one more chance on offense. Starting out their own 26, the Broncos moved down the field, getting a big boost from Sammon with his arm when he hooked up with D.J. Brown on a 42-yard pass after taking a pitch from Moon.
Two plays later, Sammon cut across on a slant from the left and took a perfect toss from Moon a raced in 33 yards for the score. The PAT from Mitch Hotop tied the score at 24-24 with 47 seconds left, sending the game into overtime.
"(Peachtree Ridge) came out and really surprised us," Sammon said, who finished with three catches for 132 yards. "We just never gave up. We've done that all summer, keeping our heads up because coaches have told us that if you practice hard and play hard, good things will happen."
After helping throw and catch Brookwood to its tying score, Sammon brought things to an end in overtime. The Brookwood defense forced the Lions to settle for a field goal and took over on its ensuing possession, ending it when Sammon came around the left end on a reverse, diving his way into the end zone by knocking over the front left pylon.
"As soon as I got the ball, I saw the opening," said Sammon, whose game-winning run was sprung open with a nice block from Adam Ledford. "I thought (the official) was going to call me out inside the one because I wasn't sure if the ball had crossed the line."
The ball did indeed cross the line, sending the Brookwood fans into a frenzy and the Broncos to a second-round playoff game next week at M.L. King.
"I was standing next to my son who was the quarterback on last year's team (Ben McLane) when that last play was called," Brookwood assistant coach Benjie McLane said. "I looked at him and said that this game was over."
McLane has been coaching Sammon at wide receiver and has seen the senior wideout develop into one of this year's go-to players.
"He played behind (Michigan State's) Andre Sims the past couple of years and I am so happy for him this season," McLane said. "He's so competitive and wants to do so well. He obviously isn't big but he has become a very good football player."