Potential high with Fleetwood’s Lions

Terance Johnson

It was not a normal year for Peachtree Ridge in 2012. The Lions finished with a 4-6 record which was their first losing record since 2004, the program’s second season of playing GHSA football.

So head coach Mark Fleetwood made some changes this season. On offense, the Lions will be more up-tempo and the defense will play an even front instead of an odd front.

Leading the up-tempo offense will be quarterback Chance Thrasher, who could be one of the top college recruits in the state next year.

“Chance can throw the ball,” Fleetwood said. “He also has a good head on his shoulders.”

Thrasher will have a reliable running back beside him in Jordan Ellis who committed to Virginia in June. Ellis rushed for more than 800 yards and nine touchdowns last season. Athlete Myron Burton, who has gotten offers from Georgia State and UNC-Charlotte, can run the ball and play wide receiver.

“I’m excited about our skill players,” Fleetwood said. “We have great ability at our skill positions.”

The skill positions will only be as good as the play of the offensive line. Fortunately, the Lions have one of the best linemen in the state in Orlando Brown. After weighing over 400 pounds his sophomore season, Brown lost 65 pounds and has committed to Tennessee. Brown is the anchor of the offensive line, but Fleetwood would like to have three of the vacant offensive line spots solidified by the start of the season.

Fleetwood would also like to have his secondary intact. The good thing for him is Nick Glass, a Georgia commit, will hold down the strong safety spot while Walden Davis will play free safety. Glass has worked hard this offseason according to Fleetwood after transferring from St. Pius last year. Because of his size, there is a chance he could see some action at linebacker. Davis can also play running back and receiver as he played both positions last year.

Linebacker Aaron Harris will be the leader of the defense according to Fleetwood. Harris can also play defensive end, which was his primary position last year.

The special teams may be the biggest strength for the Lions. Evan Pantels will be handling the kicking and punting duties and came up with some huge kicks for the Lions last season.

“Evan is a talented kid,” Fleetwood said. “He has worked his way to the top and he will be a college kicker.”

The first two games for the Lions could determine how the rest of the season will play out. They open the year at the Georgia Dome against 2011 state runner-up Walton on Aug. 24 and will have their home-opener the following week against Parkview.

The Lions will have a key matchup against defending state champion Norcross on Oct. 25 and will end the season against North Gwinnett on Nov. 8. Peachtree Ridge has just one all-time win against the Bulldogs.

Fleetwood is not sure how the season will go for the Lions, but he feels that his team is right where they need to be in order to be back in the playoff picture.

“I’m not a prognosticator,” Fleetwood said. “But I feel we can be back. So many things have to come into play, but I feel like we are headed in the right direction.”


Class AAAAAA Preseason Top 10

1. Norcross

2. Colquitt County

3. North Gwinnett

4. McEachern

5. Lowndes

6. North Cobb

7. Mill Creek

8. Walton

9. Lovejoy

10. Peachtree Ridge


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