WARNER ROBINS — Speed kills.
It becomes even deadlier when coupled with a sound defensive scheme.
The Warner Robins Demons found that out in a bitter way Friday night at McConnell-Talbert against defending GHSA Class AAA champion Peach County in front of a large and late-arriving crowd.
The Trojans unleashed their embarrassment of riches in the speed department on the Demons and walked away with a 20-0 win in the season opener for both teams. It was the first meeting between the two traditional powers since 1971.
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“We feel pretty good about our defense,” said Peach County head coach Chad Campbell, who led his team to its 16th straight win. “We’ve got some guys who can run, and that helps out.”
Those plays were plentiful throughout the game, especially so in the second half.
Peach County held Warner Robins without a first down in the second half. The Demons’ longest play in the half was seven yards.
“We just want to make plays all game long,” linebacker Octavius Hall said.
The Trojans returned nine starters on defense from last year’s state championship team, and that experience stymied the new-look Demons offense. Operating out of the shotgun and utilizing zone reads for much of the game, Warner Robins couldn’t contain Peach County’s aggressive defensive front. The Demons had nine plays that went for negative yardage, and they never got closer than the Peach County 39-yard line.
“Did I think we were going to come in here and shut out Warner Robins?” Campbell asked. “Heck, no.”
The Peach County offense wasn’t as prolific as the defense, but it was still good enough to move the ball for most of the game.
Travis Richmond gave the Trojans the only points they needed on a 4-yard touchdown run with four minutes to play in the first quarter. Richmond took a pitch and sprinted to his right, retreating a yard backwards as he got closer to the sideline. As two defenders closed in on him, the senior made his move forward about a yard or two from the sideline and used his sprinter speed to dive for the end zone.
“(The defenders) were faster than I thought, so I went a little back before making my cut,” Richmond said. “I always thought I had space.”
That touchdown run and a long reverse by Demarcus Robinson were the only big plays out of the rushing attack. Campbell said the Trojans’ offensive line is a work in progress and that the players just haven’t had enough reps together.
The Trojans answered one of their biggest question marks heading into the season with an impressive night through the air. Outside of one bad stretch, Brett Montgomery was impressive. Montgomery completed his first eight passes and went 12-of-19 for 189 yards. The senior threw a perfect pass over the top of two defenders to Demarcus Robinson for a 35-yard touchdown early in the second quarter.
The 20-point defeat was the worst season opening loss for Warner Robins since 1998. It was the first time the Demons have been shutout in a season opener since 1967.