That end zone has not been kind the Peach County Trojans.
The Trojans have suffered defeat in back-to-back seasons at the state championship game, this time at the hands of Cedar Grove. The Trojans went up 10-7 with 6 minutes left in the third quarter.
Noah Whittington, the wide receiver who caught the pass that was called incomplete in last year’s title game against Calhoun, scored what looked to be the game-winning touchdown.
Peach County would extend its lead with 4:01 left in the game with a field goal by Rene Galan. Cedar Grove’s Jadon Haselwood, the no. 1 rated wide receiver prospect in the country, returned a kickoff deep into Peach County territory. The defense looked like it was poised to hold Cedar Grove out of the end zone, the same one that Whittington’s catch was ruled incomplete.
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Then Haselwood happened. He ran a post into the end zone to catch the game-winning pass with four seconds left. Cedar Grove would add the extra point to go up 14-13. Peach County would run the clock out on the kickoff and its season would end in heartbreak in the state title game again.
Stars of the game:
Peach County QB Jaydon Gibson: A year ago, he was a wide receiver and the backup quarterback for the Trojans in the state title game against Calhoun. This year he had the keys to the offense. He showcased his play-making ability throughout the game, both in the air and on the ground. He finished with 130 yards passing on 12-of-20. He would add 40 yards rushing on seven carries. Every time the Trojans needed a first down in a crucial situation, Gibson was there to make it.
Cedar Grove QB Kendall Boney: Cedar Grove deployed two quarterbacks in the game but Boney was the more effective of the two. Boney went 6-of-10 with 101 yards and a passing touchdown touchdowns. He was also effective in the run game with 39 rushing yards and one touchdown.
Cedar Grove WR Jadon Haselwood: He was held in check for most of the game. He had just one catch for 20 yards heading into the final minute of the game. Haselwood added one more catch for 22 yards. However, it was of the game-winning variety. Haselwood also forced a fumble on defense and added over 100 return yards which set up key scores for the Saints.
They said it:
“We have fought hard since January, ya know. To get back where we are ... and losing last season like we did, it is heartbreaking.” - Peach County head coach Chad Campbell on what the loss feels like.
“Hats off to (Cedar Grove), give credit to them. They made the play. They made the perfect throw. It had to be a perfect throw and it was.” - Campbell on the last play of the game.
“He has played good all year. Everyone doubted him because of his size. He has a lot of toughness and a lot of fight in him. He has done what I thought he could do.” - Campbell on quarterback Jaydon Gibson