SUWANEE – Peachtree Ridge was too much for West Forsyth as the Lions blew out the Wolverines, 51-3, in the first round of the state playoffs on Friday night.
“Obviously it didn’t turn out the way we wanted,” West head coach Adam Clack said. “We knew where their areas of strength were, they happened to be where our areas of strength were, so we were hoping we could establish a few different things but they were just the better team, they were better prepared, and they executed what they wanted to do better than we did.”
Despite what the score line suggests, West (7-) did start the game well. They forced Peachtree Ridge (8-3) to punt on each of their first two possessions, and they actually put the first points of the game on the board when Bryce Jones hit a 42-yard field goal to cap-off a solid seven-play drive.
But that was about as good as it got for the Wolverines.
After an intentional grounding call put West inside their own 10-yard line, they were forced to punt from their own end zone. The punt was caught by University of Georgia commit, Chad Clay, who broke a couple tackles on his way to a 39-yard touchdown to give the Lions a lead they would never relinquish.
“Early on when we were just doing the things that we do, we were executing and moving the ball down the field,” Clack said. “But then we were helping a good team out by making a few unforced errors and a team like that that has the amount of athleticism that they have, its gonna get away from you.”
It seemed like before the Wolverines had time to blink, Peachtree Ridge was in the end zone again.
Following the punt return touchdown, West went three-and-out. And two plays later senior Bubba Hickson found junior Deangelo Gibbs for a 67-yard bomb to put the Lions up 14-3 late in the first.
Out of ten first half drives, West punted six times, fumbled once, threw an interception, turned it over on downs, and managed just one scoring drive.
“We tried different things that we thought could loosen them up and exploit other areas but they are a top-notch athletic defensive football team,” Clack said. “And then with all the explosive playmakers they have on offense, they were just better than us tonight.”
Peachtree Ridge took a 37-3 lead into halftime, and the game was all but over.
West’s offense was held to 178 total yards and turned the ball over three times in the game.
The backfield of Grant Torgerson and Clay Crocker was held in check for most of the night. Torgerson finished with 35 yards on eight carries while Crocker had 39 yards on 15 carries, including one costly fumble.
Junior quarterback Kiernen Hamilton finished 13-for-30 for 99 yards and an interception.
While the season didn’t end the way West wanted it to, Clack is still proud of his team and what they accomplished this season.
“A very major part of what we’ve been doing since January is reestablishing a culture.” Clack said. “This senior class bought in. Their motto for the season was ‘one team, no cliques.’ It was really important for them to establish a program that’s more about a team and a brotherhood than individual stats, and without a doubt through the ups and downs of the season we achieved that goal.”
“It’s definitely something I’ll never forget,” junior Eli Huggins said. “It’s special, for sure. We definitely had a special class, no doubt.”
“Obviously it didn’t turn out the way we wanted to but I can honestly say I had fun with my brothers the entire time,” senior Grant Sadler said. “That’s one thing I can say about this program, we are truly best friends. No matter what, we always have a good time, win or lose. It’s been the best season of football I’ve ever played in my life. I’ve played since sixth grade and I’ve never been more happy to play football.”