High School Sports

Gilbert leads Peach County past Westminster to semifinals

"It's going to take even more"

Peach County head coach Chad Campbell addresses his team after their quarterfinal win at Westminster Friday night.
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Peach County head coach Chad Campbell addresses his team after their quarterfinal win at Westminster Friday night.

Antonio Gilbert ran for two touchdowns and passed for two to help Peach County jump ahead of Westminster early and hold on for a 27-17 victory Friday at Alfred E. Thompson Stadium in the quarterfinals of the GHSA 3A playoffs Friday.

“It’s been a great year,” Peach County head coach Chad Campbell said. “We knew it was going to be a dogfight coming in here. We knew they had a good football team. (Zay Malcome) is about as good of a player you can play against, and we shut him down. You gotta give credit to the defense.”

Malcome had just 11 carries for 28 yards.

“We were locked in all week,” Campbell said. “The kids knew what was coming. (Lee Campbell) had a great game plan of knowing exactly what they were going to do, calling a perfect defense but hats off to them. They got a tough football team.”

Gilbert put the Trojans on the scoreboard first with a 1-yard touchdown run on fourth down of a 12-play drive with 7:19 left in the first quarter. After Ward Croft completed a 68-yard pass to Nance Hill on Westminster’s first play from scrimmage, the Wildcats need just six more plays to pull even, thanks to a 3-yard pass from Croft to Truman Jones with 3:59 left in the quarter.

After punts by both teams, Peach County (12-1) regained its lead on another 1-yard rush by Gilbert into the end zone with 8:24 remaining in the second quarter. The Wildcats responded with a drive all the way to the Trojans’ 1, but Peach County stopped Westminster (10-3) at the goal line on fourth down.

On the ensuing possession, the Trojans stretched their margin to double digits for good when Gilbert lobbed a 77-yard pass to Devonte Howard for a 20-7 score with 1:28 to go before halftime.

“The play we had out of the wildcat we’ve run that three times in my tenure — three times since 2009, and they have been wide open every time for two scores and one drop,” Campbell said. “We saw how they were biting and coach made a good call. Devonte made a heck of the play to outrun the guy.”

After a scoreless third quarter, the Wildcats turned an interception by Gilbert into a 43-yard field goal by Charlie Ham early in the final quarter, slicing the Trojans’ lead to 10.

But Gilbert essentially sealed things with a 16-yard touchdown pass to Kearis Jackson in the corner of the end zone for a 27-10 lead with 6:06 left to play.

“That was a big score on fourth down,” Campbell said.

Later in the quarter, Croft threw a 61-yard touchdown pass to Joe Egan, who led all receivers with 172 receiving yards, to cap the scoring.

Chris Gibson led all rushers with 19 carries for 111 yards.