COVINGTON, Ga. — Peachtree Academy seemed to always be a step behind in its season opener loss against Johnson Ferry Christian Academy.
It all started with the opening kickoff.
Saints’ return man Grant Steele gathered the kick from David Osborne at his own 18-yard line. Steele then found a seam through the Panthers and jetted for an 82-yard touchdown return.
Just 12 seconds into the contest, Johnson Ferry led 6-0.
Things got worse for the Panthers from there. The Panthers surrendered 28 of the Saints’ 58 points in the opening quarter.
Peachtree Academy’s offensive line allowed several sacks and tackles for loss throughout the game. Sometimes, the ball wouldn’t get snapped due to a false start.
Then, when they did hold back the Saints’ defensive line, quarterback Connor Boeckman would be a second too late getting the ball to his receivers.
As a result, Boeckman threw two interceptions in the first half alone.
To make matters worse, there were a few times where the Panthers would fumble the ball giving back possession to Johnson Ferry.
But, the moment that was indicative of the entire night came on the Saints’ lone score of the second quarter.
Patrick Dean connected with Steele for a 20-yard touchdown pass. On the play, multiple Panthers tried to tackle Steele to no avail.
It even seemed that a host of Panthers brought Steele to the ground, but he somehow kept his balance down the sideline and made it to the end zone.
All of the Panthers defense hung their heads and slowly walked back to the sideline.
It was, indeed, a long night for the entire squad.
Be that as it may, there were some positive moments for Peachtree Academy.
For instance, Dominic Sampson recovered a fumble in the second quarter when the Saints were threatening inside the five-yard line.
Defensively, the Panthers forced a few turnovers on downs to somewhat keep the Saints’ offense at bay.
Nevertheless, the 28-0 first quarter hole was too steep to dig out of for Peachtree Academy.
The Panthers later trailed 58-6 in the fourth quarter.
There’ll be a lot to work on in the coming weeks if the Panthers have any inclination to return to state championship glory for the third time in four seasons.
Now, after starting the season 0-1, Peachtree Academy will host Victory Baptist next week, Sept. 3 at Panther Stadium.