Peach County dominated the Jackson Red Devils in a 49-14 blowout to stay atop the region heading into the final week of the regular season.
The Trojans started slow and took nearly the whole first quarter before senior running back Noah Whittington scored the first touchdown of the game.
“We like to come out faster,” Peach County head coach Chad Campbell said. “Jackson has got a good football team. Both of us came in here 4-0.”
The night centered around celebrating the senior class at Peach County. This senior class came into the season with a record of 37-7 through their first three seasons with a pair of state title berths. This season they sit at 8-1 and are one win away from finishing region play undefeated for the fourth straight season.
“It is a special group that will be missed,” Campbell said. “We have got some high quality kids in this group.”
The team is led by the experience of the senior class but has a good mix of younger guys that contribute, Campbell said.
On a night that celebrated the team’s past and present success, it was sophomore Zion Shaw who extended the lead for the Trojans early in the second quarter.
“I told the underclassmen before the game… y’all coming up and are going to be the next ones,” Campbell said. “We have got a tradition to uphold.”
Senior quarterback Jaydon Gibson showcased his dual-threat quarterback abilities as the Red Devils slowed the passing attack for much of the first half. Gibson was able to scramble for a touchdown to put Peach County up 21-0 at the half. In the second half, Gibson answered Jackson’s first score of the night with a touchdown pass to Dorrian Smith. Smith also had a pair of interceptions on defense.
Gibson started out as a wide receiver before stepping into the quarterback role last season following Antonio Gilbert’s graduation after the first state title appearance. Gibson has become one of the unquestioned leaders on the team but credits his growth to learning behind Gilbert.
“It helped me a lot being able to recognize the offense and learn what I have to do,” Gibson said. “Watching behind Antonio gave me a heads up.”
The Red Devils struggled to get anything going the rest of the game as the Trojans would add touchdowns from Noah Whittington, and a pair from Kapien Everett to finish off the game. Next up for Peach County is the season finale against Westside. A win by Peach County would give them their fourth straight region title.
“Ain’t nothing settled yet. We’ve got to go up there and take care of business,” Campbell said. “We can’t sit there and have a three-way tie for first. We got to go up there and play well.”
The Trojans will need to avoid an upset by the Seminoles as the playoffs loom. The seeding could be key for Peach County in a run towards their third straight title game appearance. The Trojans haven’t won a state title since 2009 but have been runner-ups three different times since then. Campbell said they are focused on the next step and aren’t looking ahead to the playoffs.
“We need to go ahead and win a region championship,” Campbell said. “They know we play one game at a time here.”