West Forsyth at Peachtree Ridge
When, where: Friday, 7:30 p.m., at the Lion’s Den in Suwanee.
Records, rankings: West is 7-3, 7-2 in Region 6-AAAAAA and unranked; Peachtree Ridge is 7-3, 6-1 and ranked No. 9.
Series history: First meeting.
Last meeting: N/A
What to know: West returns to the playoffs after a four-year streak between 2010-13 when it compiled a postseason record of 3-4, including a quarterfinals appearance against Grayson in 2011—the school’s best season since opening its doors in 2007.
The Wolverines might have gotten a playoff preview in the season opener at Mill Creek, and it didn’t end well. The Hawks beat West 51-13, then the Wolverines fell by just four points to Region 6 defending champ Alpharetta, then they won seven of their last eight games, with the only loss coming to Lambert by four points.
In a season where West competed with the best in Region 6 and nearly escaped with a 9-1 record, the Mill Creek final cannot be overstated—that’s because the Wolverines’ opponent, Peachtree Ridge, is oh so similar. In fact, the Lions might be the most talented team in Gwinett County.
West will have to face one of the most sought after safeties in the country in Nigel Warrior, along with Georgia commit Chad Clay and Louisville commit Baylen Buchanan, in the secondary. West’s Kiernen Hamilton, one of the state’s most productive quarterbacks, but still an under-the-radar player, will have a lot to prove, along with receivers Austin Reid, Garrett Broxson and Ben Bresnahan.
The biggest challenge, however, will be for a young West secondary to handle Clay and DeAngelo Gibbs, a receiver considered one of the best athletes in the country in this season’s junior class.