By Gary L. Smith
After last week’s thrilling 27-26 win over Milan in a non-region rival game against county teams, the Peabody Golden Tide is preparing to move on down the road. In preparation for this week’s game at Union City, PHS Head Coach Shane Jacobs is cautioning his team about the dangers of distracted driving.
“As much as we wanted to win the Milan game, if we win at Union City Friday night, it puts us in the driver’s seat for the lead in the region. If I am right, I think, that would give us home field advantage all the way through the playoffs and into what would be the state championship game. Friday night is the biggest game of the year, bigger than this one. We have to move past this as quickly as we can,” informed Coach Jacobs.
“What we have to avoid is like last year, when we won a game like this and suffered a hangover the next week. I don’t know that we ever could get through that big win and get ready for Union City. We have to learn from our mistakes. We will celebrate this win tonight, but we must prepare for Union City,” challenged the coach.
Peabody’s exciting 27-26 win over Milan, last week, featured numerous big plays, momentum swings and four lead changes. The outcome of the game was not decided until late in the fourth quarter. At the 8:10 mark of the final period, Trenton appeared to be in good shape with a 21-12 lead thanks to Cooper Baugus’ five-yard touchdown on a quarterback scramble and Isaiah Hicks’ extra point kick.
However, the Bulldogs still had plenty of fight left and they proceeded to score on Jamari Weathers’ one-yard TD blast and Taylor Lockhart’s 45-yard touchdown strike to Sam Parr and PAT pass to Dylan Mayberry.
Trailing 26-21 with 2:21 left in the game, Peabody appeared to be in serious trouble. Facing fourth down deep in its own territory, Peabody responded with quarterback Cooper Baugus’ 74-yard TD bomb to fleet-footed wide receiver Noah Halbrook, who broke free on a go-route. The two-point conversion pass attempt was incomplete, but Peabody had come from behind to win 27-26.
“We knew it would be a four quarter ballgame and that is a cliché. It was Peabody vs. Milan and we knew both teams coming in were really good football teams. So, we stressed depth and conditioning all week long. We had so many guys step-up and make plays tonight. They got limited reps during the week, because they were in back-up roles. When they got their chances, they came in and played so hard. Like in any ballgame, we made a million mistakes, but one mistake we didn’t make was with our effort tonight,” acknowledged Coach Jacobs.
Giving good effort for the game’s early scoring were: Peabody – Baugus’ eight-yard touchdown on a quarterback scramble and Hicks’ extra point kick (7-0 at 8:14 second quarter), Milan – Dylan Mayberry’s four-yard TD burst through the left side (Courtlen Wade’s tackle on the perimeter prevented Milan from adding the two-point conversion 7-6 at 4:13 second quarter), Milan – Orlandis Williamson’ 70-yard TD sprint out of Wildcat formation (12-7 MHS lead 11:26 third quarter) and Peabody – Jarel Dickson’s three-yard power play TD and Hicks’ PAT kick (14-12 PHS lead at 4:15 third period).
Despite the fact that both teams suffered from cramps, due to the heat and humidity, players continued to step-up and make contributions, which led to the 27-point fourth quarter and 27-26 Peabody win.
“Our guys genuinely love and care for each other. I know that doesn’t sound like it goes with football, but it goes a long way. Every kid on the team grew up together. They take a lot of pride in this town and playing well for the community. I am happy for all of these guys. It is a big win, anytime we can find a way to beat Milan. We are really excited for what we were able to do tonight,” explained Coach Jacobs.
Statistically, Peabody registered 143 yards rushing and 171 yards passing for 314 total yards and 15 first downs and Milan logged 155 yards on the ground and 152 yards through the air for 307 total yards and 15 renewed series.
Tide quarterback Cooper Baugus completed nine-of-20 passes with one interception and a touchdown and Bulldog signal caller Taylor Lockhart connected on 14 passes with one TD and an aerial theft.
Neither team lost a fumble. The visiting squad was penalized eight times for 62 yards and the home team was flagged on four occasions for 25 yards.
Offensive leaders included: Peabody – Jarel Dickson, with 12 rushes for 38 yards and one touchdown; Baugus, with 19 keepers for 29 yards and a pair of six-pointers and Jacquez Wilkins, with nine carries for 45 yards and Halbrook, with six receptions for 133 yards and a TD and Milan – Jimari Weathers, with 11 attempts for 53 yards and one touchdown and Orlandis Williamson, with six tries for 88 yards and two scores.
Top defenders included: JC Eubanks and Qua Parks, with seven solo tackles and one assist each; Jaime Hernandez, with five primary contacts and four secondary strikes and Courtlen Wade, with five initial hits and a pass deflection. Eubanks also contributed two quarterback sacks, a pass deflection and a tackle-for-loss.