Archer 26, Peachtree Ridge 10

Photo by Sonny Kennedy

Peachtree Ridge was no match for the nation’s No. 10 ranked Archer as the host Tigers dominated from the get-go to grab a 26-10 win in ESPNU’s national broadcast of the Gwinnett powers.

Penalties haunted the Lions throughout the game and thwarted countless drives. In the first half alone, Peachtree Ridge suffered nine penalties which cost them 75 yards. The Lions already entered the game short-handed without linebackers Breon Dixon and Kameron Jones; Dixon battling a shoulder injury while Jones was sick. The secondary also was without Deangelo Gibbs, who missed tonight’s game with a high ankle sprain.

With three important defenders out, the task of holding down the explosive Tigers was going to be difficult, but the Lions held their own. Archer grabbed an early lead at the 6:53 mark of the first quarter after a 39-yard pass to Kyle Davis set up a Will Bearden QB-sneak from a yard out, but the Lions would block the extra point.

Connor Heyward and the Lions would orchestrate a 54-yard drive, but stalled and had to settle for a 30-yard field goal from Zaniel Phillips to cut the Tiger lead in half heading into the second quarter.

Bearden and the rest of the Archer offense began to grind down the beleaguered Lions defense in the second frame. Aramis Bryant slipped past the secondary and Bearden hit him in stride for a 66-yard touchdown which proved to be all the scoring the Tigers would need.

Peachtree Ridge continued to shoot itself in the foot on offense in the second quarter with penalties beginning to pile up. The Lions defense however, continued to bend but not break and held the Tigers to two Matthew Fritts field goals of 31 and 22 yards which gave Archer a 19-3 lead with 44 seconds left in the first half. Heyward quickly responded by hitting Malik Murray for a 52-yard gain, but more penalties pushed the Lions back and Phillips’ 42-yard field goal attempt sailed wide right just before halftime.

In the third quarter, a 16-play, 85-yard drive resulted in a Jamyest Williams four-yard touchdown run that put the game out of reach. Williams, who rushed for 172 yards and five touchdowns in the Corky Kell Classic last week, was kept in check and totaled just 10 yards on eight first half carries before finding paydirt in the third quarter.

Marquez Jackson finally found the end zone for the Lions late in the fourth quarter on an 11-yard run.

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