CARROLLTON -- A receiver’s contributions to a game are generally limited by the nature of the position.
Most receivers just don’t touch the ball a ton during most games.
That was the case for Peach County junior Demarcus Robinson on Friday night in the GHSA quarterfinals against Carrollton. Outside of his punting duties, Robinson only touched the ball three times in the second half against No. 3 Carrollton.
Without of each of those three catches, however, the Trojans (12-1) may have missed out on the semifinals for the first time since 2008.
Robinson came up with two third-down conversions in the second half -- the second going 76 yards for a touchdown -- and added a game-ending interception in his own end zone to help propel No. 7 Peach County to a 19-15 in hostile territory.
“My uncle (former Peach County and NFL receiver Marcus Robinson) told me that big players need to step up when your teammates need you,” Robinson said. “I wanted to do that (Friday).”
Peach County will play former region foe Cairo in the semifinals after a night when four of the top five teams -- Sandy Creek, St. Pius X, Carrollton and Allatoona -- all lost.
“I thought our guys really stepped up in the second half,” Peach County head coach Chad Campbell said. “They came to play.”
After trailing for much of the game, Peach County pulled ahead on a scintillating catch by Robinson. Quarterback Kentel Kendrick heaved up a pass to Robinson, who ran a stop-and-go route on third-and-13, and the junior elevated with Carrollton cornerback Jonathan Jones. Robinson pinned the ball to the Auburn commitment’s back and then got knocked loose by a safety coming for support. The hit spun Robinson around and helped the receiver catch his balance and dart toward the end zone for the go-ahead score with just more than nine minutes to play in the game.
“He’s very talented,” Peach County offensive coordinator Todd Cooper said. “He’s a guy that you better have a plan for.”
Peach County pulled to within two points in the third quarter with a massive, run-based run that chewed up nearly 75 percent of the clock. Of the 19 plays on the 80-yard drive, 17 of them were runs. Robinson was featured in one of those two passes when he caught a slant on third-and-8 and took it 16 yards to the Carrollton 1-yard line. Kendrick dived over the top three plays later to pull Peach County with two at 15-13.
“We just want to pound on people and hope something breaks,” Cooper said. “We want to pride ourselves on being physical and taking our shots.”
Carrollton (11-2) mounted two late drives with an opportunity to take the lead, but the Peach County defense rebuffed it twice.
Carrollton moved inside the Peach County 20-yard line with less than four minutes to play, but a quarterback sweep on fourth-and-2 resulted in a 2-yard loss and a turnover on downs.
After a three-and-out, Carrollton moved the ball all the way to the Peach County 16 with 17 seconds left. Quarterback Dallas Dickey broke free of the Peach County defense on second-and-10 and had a receiver wide open in the back of the end zone. Dickey underthrew the ball a little, and Robinson elevated to intercept the pass and ice the victory.
“He was open behind me, but I guess (the quarterback) didn’t get enough on it,” Robinson said. “I’m glad he didn’t.”
Campbell said, “We put him out there to make plays like that. He can cover a lot of ground.”
Carrollton jumped out to an early 15-6 lead with two dominating offensive drives. It rushed for 104 yards in the first quarter alone and scored on a 25-yard pass and a 28-yard run.
Peach County managed its only first quarter points on a 34-yard screen pass from Kendrick to Debarriaus Miller. Robinson’s block downfield sprang Miller for the touchdown.