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PREP FOOTBALL: Panthers cruise in 8-man playoff opener
Peachtree Academy FB
Panthers quarterback Dakota Boeckman (7) dives into the end zone Friday night against Fideles for his first of nine touchdowns in the first round of the Class AA 8-Man Football Playoffs. - Taylor Beck | The Covington News

COVINGTON, Ga. — Dakota Boeckman, Shamari Samuels and the No. 2 seed Peachtree Academy Panthers scored early and often in the first round of the 2020 Class AA 8-Man Football playoffs on Friday night, routing the Fideles Christian Academy Rangers, 71-6.

The Panthers offense had scored 115 points over its past two games and carried that momentum into the playoffs.

“We finally learned how to have fun with it,” Panther head coach Jim Eidson said. “When we have fun, we tend to do well.”

Boeckman, Samuels, and Anthony Owens highlighted the offensive onslaught, as the trio torched the Fideles defense for all four quarters.

Samuels had 202 receiving yards in the first half on just four receptions. 

Owens had four receptions as well and turned two of those into touchdownn. He was a force to be reckoned with at all three phases of the game — he tallied a kickoff return for a touchdown to begin the second half, and got an interception on defense.

Boeckman threw for 297 yards in the first half with five passing touchdowns on 10 completions. He accounted for nine total touchdowns for the game, four of them on the ground.

Peachtree led 50-6 at halftime and both teams agreed to a running clock for the second half.

The Panther defense accounted for five total turnovers in the game, only allowed Fideles to cross the 50-yard line twice and held the visitors to 1-for-7 on third downs.

The win gets Peachtree Academy one step closer to its third-straight state championship, and its first under Eidson.

Peachtree Academy’s next opponent is a familiar foe — the top-seeded Unity Christian Lions, who the Panthers ousted in last year’s playoffs.  

“We played Unity several times over the years,” Eidson said. “It is not a surprise that we are playing them again.”

When asked what his game plan would be going into the game, Eidson said, “The best thing I know to do: play Peachtree football.”

Eidson, in his first year as head coach after spending the past few seasons as defensive coordinator, has his team one win away from playing for the state championship.

Peachtree travels to Rome for the semifinal bout next Friday, Nov. 20, with a trip to the state championship on the line.