As it had done earlier this season in a dramatic victory over Mary Persons, Peach County fought until the bitter end but ran out of time and fell 13-7 to Greater Atlanta Christian in the GHSA Class 3A semifinals Friday night.
The Trojans missed two field goals in the opening half from 42 and 37 yards that proved to be the difference.
GAC took a 10-0 lead at the half and extended it to 13-0 on a 33-yard field goal with 6:58 to play.
Peach County gave itself a chance with a 15-yard touchdown pass from Antonio Gilbert to Devontae Howard with less than two minutes to play. The ensuing kick was recovered by the Spartans, but Peach County held them to a three-and-out to get the ball back with just 11 seconds remaining
After a Gilbert pass moved the ball near midfield, his desperation attempt on the following play was intercepted as time expired to end the game.
Three who mattered
Davis Mills: The Spartans quarterback and Stanford commitment made key plays with his feet to extend drives and eat clock. He didn’t have a huge night throwing the ball but hit two big plays to Max Burke in the first half on the only touchdown drive of the night for GAC.
Gilbert: Mills’ opposite number was under duress much of the game, but he gave Peach County a chance to win late by making big plays on the ground when the pocket broke down. Gilbert finished 19-of-32 passing for 195-yards.
Burke: The big play player for the Spartans finished with 130 yards on six catches. His 63-yard catch and run in third quarter almost put the game away, but the Peach County defense stiffened and forced a turnover on downs to keep itself in the contest.
Late drama: Peach County almost didn’t get the ball back for a final chance, but a 40-yard touchdown run by Kyler McMichael on third down was called back due to a holding penalty. McMichael also ran out of bounds on first down to save the Trojans the time it needed for a last ditch effort at a tying touchdown.
Kicking woes: After being so good all season for the Trojans, place-kicker Mitchell Fineran could not find the aim. His first attempt from 42 yards sailed just wide right, and he missed again from 37 yards in the same direction on the final play of the first half, but that one missed left.
They said it
Peach County head coach Chad Campbell on a frustrating night: “This time of year you’ve got to play your best ballgame and we just didn’t do it. Hats off to (the Spartans) and give them credit. We thought that we had some things we could do, but we just didn’t play well. We didn’t protect the quarterback, had some some misreads, and just as a whole team, we didn’t play as well as we could.”
Campbell on the fight of his team: “That was a lot of resolve. It started against Mary Persons, and I just wish we had another minute or so.”
Campbell on the final play of the game: “We were going to run a play we run every Thursday; we just didn’t have time to throw the ball. We had a special play that we work on; we just didn’t execute.”