By Michael Pope
COVINGTON, Ga. – The Peachtree Academy Panthers (8-0, 4-0) clinched sole possession of the region title and kept their undefeated season alive in a tough 40-34 win over the Kings Way Christian Crusaders Friday night at Peachtree Academy.
The game was back and forth all night, but the Panthers were able to pull out the victory with their stout rushing attack that dominated all night even while being matched by the Crusaders.
The Panthers had two 100-yard rushers with running back Marvin Peoples finishing with 173 yards on 10 carries and two touchdowns and running back Kaleb Brisbane ending his night with 124 yards on 13 carries and two scores of his own.
The play of each member of the rushing attack was a huge help according to Panthers head coach Clint Miller.
“It helps a lot because a lot of teams key in on Daniel (Cassamajor), so we have other guys that can step up,” said Miller. “I am very proud of Daniel, Kaleb, Marvin. I’m very proud of Hunter Payne.”
The Crusaders relied on the strong play of running back Jordan Traylor who rushed for 198 rushing yards on 17 carries and three touchdowns, but it would not be enough.
Brisbane seemed to have put the game in the bag for the Panthers with his 33-yard touchdown run with just over a minute left to play that extended their lead to 40-26, but the Crusaders would not go down quietly.
The Crusaders responded with a drive that took around fifty seconds and ended with a score on a 45-yard touchdown pass to Jamie Jackson that brought the game within one score.
The Crusaders followed up their score with a successful onside kick attempt and they had a shot from midfield to score and tie the game up at 40, but the Panthers held them and walked away with the victory.
This game was a constant fight between the two teams that saw multiple lead changes occur throughout the game. Of the first seven drives of the second half, five of them ended in touchdowns. Peoples played a part in one of those scores for his Panthers and he shined throughout.
Peoples was the star player for the Panthers as he finished his night with over 200 yards from scrimmage and three total touchdowns. He said he was feeling great tonight and that this win and season is truly indescribable.
“Lot of thanks to my team, a lot of hard work went into practice, just strive throughout practice in the week and bring it out during the game,” said Peoples. “It feels great. Words can’t explain how I feel right now.”
Miller agreed with this notion and knows that staying focused for the upcoming week will be critical if they hope to achieve their goal of an undefeated season, but right now he could not be more proud of his team.
“I love my boys, they’ve got heart, they never quit, they had to face some adversary and they did not blink, they did not back down, they just kept playing,” said Miller. “I think a game like this shows our team how to overcome adversary and it shows our team how you have to play to the very last second.”
Miller said the word for the whole team and coaching staff is “Finish” and his team will look to do just that next week in his team’s regular season finale against Young Americans Christian School at 7:30 p.m. on October 26th at Peachtree Academy.