SUWANEE – An explosive offense racked up 412 total yards and senior wide receiver Brandon Johnson pulled in four catches for 251 yards and three scores Friday night as Peachtree Ridge opened up Region 7-AAAAAA play with a 55-17 over Duluth.
“We have been preparing and focusing all week for this game,” Johnson said. “I focused on the small details and just did the little things right.”
Johnson had a career day and junior quarterback Chance Thrasher was efficient all evening, going 13-for-20 for 347 yards and four touchdowns. Senior running back Jordan Ellis added 14 touches for 108 all-purpose yards and two scores.
“I’m really proud of our offensive line and what they were able to do up front,” said Peachtree Ridge head coach Mark Fleetwood. “It started there which opened up our running game and then we were able to find some answers through our receivers.”
The Lions got things going as senior safety Walden Davis picked off a Thad Bell overthrow. After a Peachtree Ridge three-and-out, the defense picked up its second turnover of the game as junior defensive back Jaquan Gibson intercepted a jump ball in the end zone.
From there, Ellis was the workhorse as Peachtree Ridge (3-0, 1-0) worked its way into Duluth territory. Thrasher connected with Ellis in the flat and he took it 24 yards for the early 7-0 lead.
The next Wildcat possession ended abruptly as sophomore linebacker Mark Lancaster stepped in front of a pass and took in 43 yards to the end zone for a 14-0 lead. Ellis then found daylight again, scampering 41 yards to extend the lead to 21-0. Senior kicker Evan Pantels made it 24-0 early in the second quarter.
Duluth finally broke through on the following possession as junior running back Theo Burnette turned the outside corner and raced 80 yards to the end zone to cut the deficit to 24-7.
After a field goal by the Wildcats made it a two possession game, senior Myron Burton returned a kick 42 yards to give the Lions great field position at the Peachtree Ridge 43.
Thrasher struck on the following play as he hit senior Brandon Johnson streaking down the sideline for a 63-yard score and a 31-10 lead going into the break.
Duluth cut into the lead again as Bell found junior Devin Terry from eight yards out, however Johnson put the game out of reach for good as he scored on two long receptions on from 58 and 56 yards out on the next two possessions.
A field goal from Pantels and a late 54-yard score from senior Donte Borders gave the Lions the victory.
For Duluth, the rushing attack of Burnette and junior Nyles Preston combined for 206 yards and a score while Terry added six catches for 86 yards and a touchdown. Bell finished the day going 14-for-28 for 174 yards and a touchdown.
Defensively, senior linebacker Dru Moody led Peachtree with 11 tackles and three tackles for loss while senior linebacker Aaron Harris added nine tackles and 2.5 tackles for loss.
For the Wildcats (0-3, 0-1), junior safety Trey Bennett led all tacklers with 10 while senior defensive end Evan Ubakanma added six tackles, two for losses, and a sack.
“We’ve got to put this game behind us and move to the next one,” said Johnson. “It’s going to take the same intensity that we brought this week.”
The Lions hit the road next week for a huge matchup against Mill Creek.
“It’s going to take everything we got and then more to come away with a win,” said Fleetwood. “I look forward to the challenge, this is what it’s all about.”
PEACHTREE RIDGE 55, DULUTH 17
Duluth 0 10 7 0
Peachtree Ridge 21 10 7 17
Peachtree: Jordan Ellis 24 yard pass from Chance Thrasher (Evan Pantels kick) 4:25
Peachtree: Mark Lancaster 43 yard interception return (Evan Pantels kick) 3:06
Peachtree: Jordan Ellis 41 yard run (Evan Pantels kick) :47
Peachtree: Evan Pantels 38 yard FG 9:35
Duluth: Theo Burnette 80 yard run (Nikolai Iotav kick) 9:23
Duluth: Nikolai Iotav 30 yard FG 2:35
Peachtree: Brandon Johnson 63 yard pass from Chance Thrasher (Evan Pantels kick) 2:13
Duluth: Devin Terry eight yard pass from Thad Bell (Nikolai Iotav kick) 2:31
Peachtree: Brandon Johnson 58 yard pass from Chance Thrasher (Evan Pantels kick) 2:31
Peachtree: Brandon Johnson 56 yard pass from Chance Thrasher (Evan Pantels kick) 11:32
Peachtree: Evan Pantels 34 yard FG 3:05
Peachtree: Donte Borders 54 yard run (Evan Pantels kick) :24