SUWANEE -- Diandre Atwater had 140 yards rushing and three touchdowns, but when it came down to it, defense was the story for Peachtree Ridge as it held on to defeat Newnan, 28-16.
Up 14-10, the Lions (2-1) turned the ball over inside their own 5-yard line in the third quarter and needed a stop to prevent the Cougars from inching closer or taking the lead.
That's where Dionte Brabham stepped in and took a fumbled snap out of mid-air, falling down on the Newnan 26-yard line to put the Lions back in business.
"Our defense hunkered down and had stops when we needed them," said Peachtree Ridge head coach Mark Fleetwood. "We said at halftime we needed a three-and-out or a game-changer, and that's what it did."
The Lions didn't disappoint their coach as Atwater rushed for a six-yard score on the fourth play of the drive, putting the Lions up 21-10.
It didn't end there, however. The Lions used two third-down conversions, finishing the seven-play drive off with Atwater's third score of the night, this time from 13 yards out.
"We had some penalties that hurt us and we have to cut those out," Fleetwood said. "But, I don't want to stop the energy, so we just have to fix the little things."
Newnan added a score with 7:11 to go in the fourth quarter, but couldn't muster anything else as the Lions milked the clock down to 2:24 on their next drive before punting.
Peachtree Ridge got things going quickly out of the gate as Diandre Atwater went 56 yards up the middle on the first play of the game down to the Newnan 32-yard line. Four plays later, Atwater hit paydirt from seven yards out. Connor Rouleau's extra point put Peachtree Ridge up 7-0 with 9:49 to go in the first quarter.
"We ran the ball well all night," Fleetwood said.
After forcing the Newnan offense to a three-and-out on its first offensive drive, the Lions' offense struck quickly again, this time on the third play when Joe Horn took a screen pass 46 yards for the score. Rouleau's extra point gave the Lions a 14-0 lead with 7:09 to go in the first quarter.
Newnan responded on its second drive, using 14 plays to go 67 yards before settling for an Austin Hurler 30-yard field go to bring the Cougars to within 14-3.
The Lions looked to restore its 14-point lead two drives later when they drove down to 19-yard line. However, Rouleau's 35-yard field-goal attempt was blocked, leaving the score at 14-3.
Newnan used that momentum and drove 80 yards in 13 plays, culminating with a Bryan Ball two-yard score with 49 seconds to go before halftime.
Best finished the game 14-for-19 for 224 yards and one touchdown, while Horn finished with five receptions for 102 yards. The Lions also got 68 yards on the ground from Raham Dixon.