By Gary Smith
The Peabody Golden Tide executed its offensive and defensive game plans for 61 points in the first half to take the fight out of the Booker T. Washington Warriors in a season-opener played last week in Trenton.
Immediately following the 61-8 win over the Memphis team, the Peabody coaches and players turned their attention to preparation for Friday’s game against rival Milan.
Last season, the Bulldogs exposed the Tide’s inexperience with an embarrassing 56-12 decision. Friday night at Walter Kilzer Stadium, Trenton will attempt to improve its performance against another powerful Milan squad.
Last Friday night’s game against BTW was good practice for the upcoming match-up. Besides executing its game plan in all phases, Peabody was able to gain experience for every team member, which will be one of the keys to success for this year’s squad.
Offensively, Peabody registered 140 yards rushing and 87 yards passing for 227 total yards and seven first downs. Booker T. Washington managed 58 yards on the ground and -15 yards through the air for 43 total yards and five renewed series.
Defensively, the Tide flooded the Warriors to force a total of six turnovers. PHS tallied 40 points off turnovers.
Forcing the BTW mistakes were Courtlen Wade with an interception; Hunter Hudson with a fumble recovery; Robert Clark with a bobble retrieval; Jarel Dickson with a loose ball possession following a hit by Wade; Jaime Hernandez with a fumble recovery following a pass deflection by Matthew Martin; Eli Hammonds with an interception for a 45-yard TD; and Quentin Jumper with a scoop-and-score fumble recovery for a 27-yard touchdown.
Accounting for Peabody’s touchdowns were Jarel Dickson on a three-yard blast over left tackle; Eli Hammonds on a 28-yard punt return; Dickson on a three-yard swing route pass thrown by Cooper Baugus; Je’Nevee Robinson on a 49-yard go-route bomb from Baugus; Baugus on a 23-yard QB keeper; Jacquez Wilkins on a 22-yard burst up the middle; Dickson on a 14-yard rumble though the heart of the BTW defense; Hammonds on a 45-yard interception return; and Quentin Jumper on a 27-yard scoop-and-score.
Zack Grooms kicked the first five extra points, and Isaiah Hicks booted two out of the last four points-after-touchdowns (PATs).
After Trenton negotiated 35 points in the first quarter and 26 points in the second period for a 61-0 halftime score, the Mercy Rule went into effect for the second half, which consisted of two six-minute quarters with a continuously running clock. BTW avoided the shutout, when Winston Delane rushed for a seven-yard touchdown and two-point conversion with 1:23 remaining in the third frame.
“I was really pleased how we came out tonight and executed and came ready to play. There is always a lot of excitement coming out and playing in Week One. I knew that some of our younger guys might have some first game jitters, but I thought we played well and did a lot of things we had worked in practice. I was excited about how we executed, our effort and the way we played,” acknowledged Peabody Head Coach Shane Jacobs.
“It is always fun to get experience for our younger guys. They have been coming to practice every day and putting in the same effort that the older guys are. Anytime you have the opportunity to get everybody on the team into the game, that is always a good thing. Sometimes in the more competitive games, we don’t get that opportunity, but we always like to play as many players as we can. I was really pleased with how the younger guys got in and played. I was very happy to see them get to play tonight,” explained Coach Jacobs.
Offensive leaders included Jarel Dickson with six rushes for 37 yards and two touchdowns; Cooper Baugus with two QB keepers for 20 yards and a six-pointer; Jacquez Wilkins with five carries for 21 yards and one TD; Ben Farley with four runs for 33 yards; and Qua Parks with one run for 29 yards.
Baugus completed four-of-seven passes, with two of those aerials being caught by Je’Nevee Robinson for 70 yards and a touchdown.
Top defenders included Desmond Tyler with three solo tackles and one assist; Jaime Hernandez with two primary strikes, a pair of secondary hits and an interception; Jon Cameron Eubanks with one initial contact and a trio of help-outs; and Robert Clark with four assists and a fumble recovery.
Next, Peabody (1-0) hosts Milan (1-0) on Friday at Walter Kilzer Stadium. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m.
“Milan is a really good team. They return a one-two punch with (Anthony) Ballard and (Jacquez) Norman. Both of those guys are really talented players and then Milan has a really good quarterback (Taylor Lockhart). Their offensive line is well-coached and they do a really good job. So I think the game will be a really big test for us. Milan is, possibly, the best team we will play all year. I am always excited to play in a big rivalry game that everyone looks forward to. It will be a lot of fun for the coaches and the players,” admitted the coach.
“We will have to continue to execute things. We still make mistakes doing some of the little things. Against a team like Milan, they will make you pay when you make the little mistakes. So we have to be as detailed as we can in practice. We will have to do the best we can to understand what we are trying to accomplish with everything we do. If we come out and play well, we will give ourselves a chance. If we don’t execute like we are capable of doing, then Milan can make it a long night. We understand that, so we really need a good week of practice,” emphasized Coach Jacobs.