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SPRING FOOTBALL: Social Circle's win over Walnut Grove gives needed momentum into summer
WATCH: Video recap with Matthew Grimes
Social Circle Football
Social Circle quarterback Tate Peters gets ready to fire a pass out to a Redskins receiver during Friday's 7-6 spring game victory over Walnut Grove. - photo by Sydney Chacon

Social Circle Recap

Matthew Grimes chats with sports editor Gabriel Stovall about his thoughts and impressions on Social Circle’s 7-6 spring game win over Walnut Grove Friday.

WALNUT GROVE, Ga. — Though the score board was turned off for most of the night, the Social Circle Redskins managed to squeak out a 7-6 victory over Walnut Grove in a staunch defensive matchup Friday night that gave the Redskins some momentum heading into the summer.

Either the offenses were still in spring mode or the defenses were in mid-season form, as the game remained a tight, defensive stalemate all night. 

Social Circle brought a no huddle, spread-wing look into the ball game offensively, and though the scoreboard didn’t exactly light up, the offense managed enough to showcase the athleticism of rising senior quarterback Tate Peters.

Peters has spent the last few years as a bit of a utility guy for the Redskins, but head coach Chad Estes made it clear that it should be Peters’ offense to manage come August.

“This year, it’s going to be Tate’s team,” Estes said after Friday’s spring game scrimmage.

And Peters said he was more than glad to take on his new role.

“It feels good to lead everybody,” Peters said.

Peters played very solidly in his debut as the team’s starting quarterback, including tossing the Redskins’ only touchdown on a 54-yard-deep ball connection to receiver Davis Smith in the third quarter. He finished the night completing four passes for 125 yards, showing his ability to make big plays despite only a few passing opportunities. 

The offense showcased a healthy dose of motion plays and misdirection, seemingly designed to either disguise plays or get their speed to the edge. And when Peters wasn’t showcasing his arm, he was gaining solid yardage on designed passing plays that often turned into improvising as he scrambled.

Aside from Peters, Social Circle’s offense was highlighted by a solid rushing attack led by Conner Bailey, Chad Branch and Ethan Ryan

All played considerable snaps at the running back position. Bailey also contributed in the receiving game as he had one catch for 22 yards on a nicely executed wheel route early in the game. 

Receiver Davis Smith had three catches for 103 yards and the lone touchdown of the night, displaying great ability to run after the catch. 

Davis Smith
Social Circle wideout Davis Smith races toward the end zone on a 54-yard touchdown reception that proved to be the game winner for the Redskins at Walnut Grove during Friday's spring game. - photo by Sydney Chacon

Defensively, the Redskins exemplified the old “bend but don’t break” mantra.

 Aside from a score as time expired in the first half, Walnut Grove only advanced to the Social Circle side of the field three times all night. On one series early in the second quarter, the Warriors faced a first and goal from the 8 yard line. A penalty and three huge defensive plays later, the Warriors were forced to punt on fourth and goal from the Social Circle 45.

Although this win does nothing for the standings, Estes admitted the importance of it as preparation for the 2018 campaign goes into high gear this summer.

Social Circle Defense
Several Social Circle defenders converge on a gang tackle of a Walnut Grove ball carrier during Friday's spring game. The Redskins' defense gave up some plays, but held strong most of the night. - photo by Sydney Chacon

 “Any time you can get a win going into the season it just spring boards your season,” he said.

The Redskins will be looking for their first winning season since finishing 2006 with a 6-5 record. That was also the last time Social Circle has reached the playoffs. That was in the midst of a stretch where the Redskins made the postseason for nine straight seasons. 

Estes, entering his fifth year at the program’s helm, said he’s seen enough steady improvement to feel optimistic about ending that drought. 

“I’m telling you, it’s getting there,” Estes said. “We’re turning the corner. We’ve still got a lot of work to do, we obviously want to score a lot more points. But we are excited”

The Skins will open the 2018 season on August 24 at a Stone Mountain team that finished 1-9 in 2017. Social Circle’s first home game will be September 14 against region foe Banks County.