This Peach County-Central game was going to be different.
After getting shut out four straight years by Peach County, Central was hungry to do something against a program that has been among the best in Middle Georgia for many years.
Central certainly gave Peach County a test. The Chargers kept things in doubt well into the fourth quarter before the Trojans prevailed 25-14 at Henderson Stadium in a GHSA Region 2-AAA contest.
“We made some mistakes, but I like what the kids did. They fought,” Central head coach Jesse Hicks said. “They saw how we had been blanked, they saw all those times we’ve been beat, and they took it personally. It was a great ballgame.”
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Central (3-3, 2-2 Region 2-AAA) found the end zone on a pair of Derrick Evans touchdown passes, one to Ivory Childers in the first quarter and a 45-yard strike to Saxton Keitt early in the fourth quarter that made it a five-point contest.
But Peach County (5-1, 4-0) was able to open up running lanes on the outside, getting decent yardage and breaking a couple of big runs that gave the Trojans an operating edge.
Peach County ran the ball for 288 yards on 56 carries, with Kearis Jackson setting the tone on the Trojans’ first offensive play by going around end for a 45-yard touchdown run.
There weren’t any long touchdown runs by Peach County after that, but there plenty of 10-yard gains that allowed the Trojans to maintain ball control.
Jackson finished with 110 yards on nine carries, with quarterback Tyrique McGhee adding 84 yards on 21 carries.
“It was there for us all night,” Peach County head coach Chad Campbell said. “They stacked the box against us.
“We got on the perimeter, and the kids made plays.”
Although Evans surpassed the 1,000-yard passing mark for the season with a 179-yard night, his completion rate wasn’t high. Nor was Central getting a lot in the way of ground support.
Evans kept his string of games without an interception alive -- he hasn’t thrown one this year -- but he only completed 13-of-37 passes.
Running back Antonio Sanders Jr., who averaged more than 100 yards per game, was held to 40 yards on 16 carries. And while Evans picked up some of the slack by scrambling for 81 yards on 10 carries, the Chargers didn’t have many opportunities to run it deep in Peach County territory.
“I thought our kids in the second half controlled the line of scrimmage, both offensively and defensively,” Campbell said.
McGhee threw a 42-yard touchdown pass to Jackson late in the third quarter, and he added a 1-yard scoring run with 3:08 to go to seal the victory for Peach County.