Peabody hosts inhospitable guest
By Gary L. Smith
After last week’s 48-0 shutout against Dresden, for a fourth win of a five game home stand, the Peabody Golden Tide may not have been perceived as a good host.
Last week, the challenge was to win a non-region football game against a less than hospitable guest. As the game progressed, sportsmanship degenerated and the officials almost let the game get out of control. For the safety concerns of the players, the post-game congratulatory line at midfield was canceled.
Peabody Head Coach Shane Jacobs explains, “I apologize to anybody who was offended for us not shaking hands at the end of the game, but all I can do is control what our guys do. The officials let things go on all night long until it got to the point, where we tried to hold our guys back as long as we could. Every time we were on the ground, they were twisting our guys and doing all of this stuff. I kept telling and telling them that it was happening, but the officials were not making the calls. The next thing you know, every thing gets out of control and it starts getting chippy. I am proud of our guys for responding the way they did. I was not going to let anything happen post-game right there. I apologize, if anybody was offended, but I would do it again because we are going to make sure our kids act the right way. It was a shame the way things ended there in the second half with penalty after penalty.”
The fact that Peabody physically dominated the game seemed to play a role leading to Dresden’s unsportsmanlike conduct.
“We played well and blocked well up front. They came out defensively and had eight guys in the box, showing us a defense we have not seen. After the very first snap, we knew we were going to have to throw the ball around quite a bit. Of course, Cooper (Baugus) and the receivers are very capable of throwing and catching the ball. It gave us the opportunity to work the passing game. Eventually, we were able to get Jarel (Dickson) and Jacquez (Wilkins) loose up in there with our running game. The way they were playing us defensively, we had several route combinations we were able to work and have a lot of success through the air,” acknowledged Coach Jacobs.
Peabody junior quarterback Cooper Baugus contributed an outstanding performance, by completing 11-of-13 passes for 183 yards and three touchdowns and scrambling four times for 25 yards and a pair of six-pointers. The Tide line afforded Baugus pass protection and time to throw the football and paved the way for backs to rush for 240 yards on 25 carries.
On the opening offensive series of the game, the home team quickly lit-up the scoreboard, when Baugus connected with fleet-footed wide receiver Noah Halbrook for a 14-yard touchdown on a bubble route to cap the nine-snap, 64-yard drive. Isaiah Hicks’ extra point kick lifted the Tide to a 7-0 lead at the 7:42 juncture of the first quarter.
Peabody’s next two scoring possessions were set into motion due to Jacquez Wilkins’ 54-yard touchdown on a scoop-and-score fumble return and Eli Hammond’s pass interception. Hammond’s aerial theft opened the floodgates for the Tide to roll to a 20-0 lead on Baugus’ 11-yard TD on a quarterback scramble and Hicks’ extra point.
Continuing to take advantage of Dresden’s defensive game plan dictation, Peabody tacked on three additional touchdowns to make the final score 48-0. Tallying touchdowns were: Halbrook, on a 17-yard TD reception on an out-route to conclude a three-play, 48-yard trek; Dickson, on a six-yard blast to punctuate a five-snap, 84-yard drive and Halbook, on a 12-yard aerial. Hicks booted six-of-seven extra points for the night.
Peabody was able to preserve the 48-0 shutout due to three consecutive turnovers, which were provided when Rafe Hannah and Jarel Dickson combined to force and recover a fumble and Qua Parks intercepted passes on consecutive series.
Statistically, Peabody amassed 240 yards rushing and 183 yards passing for 423 total yards and 19 first downs and Dresden was limited to 41 yards on the ground and 119 yards through the air for 160 total yards and five yardage sticks relocations. The Tide did not drop the football and the Lions relinquished two-of-three fumbles.
PHS was penalized on four occasions for 55 yards and DHS was flagged five times for 50 yards.
Offensive leaders included: rushing – Jarel Dickson, with 10 carries for 95 yards and one touchdown and Jacquez Wilkins, with six attempts for 94 yards and receiving – Noah Halbrook, with seven receptions for 114 yards and three touchdowns.
Top defenders included: Isaiah Jackson, with three solo tackles, two assists and a tackle-for-loss; Qua Parks, with three tackles, one assist, two pass interceptions and a pass deflection; Wilkins, with two tackles and seven assists; Osiris Wilson, with two initial stops and six help-outs; Dickson, with one primary strike, six secondary hits, a quarterback sack and a fumble recovery; Braxton Johnson, with one tackle, two assists and a forced fumble and Rafe Hannah, with a forced fumble.
Next, Peabody (6-0) hosts Gibson County (5-1) for Homecoming on Friday at Walter Kilzer Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
“Gibson County is a good football team. I think it is going to be a well-spirited football game, next week. Gibson County brings in a lot of guys who played a lot last year. They played us tough last year, so I think it is going to be a good game. We need a great week of practice to come in as prepared and as focused as we did tonight to give ourselves a chance to win that ballgame,” informed Coach Jacobs.
“You love Homecoming for the fans and alumni. It is a very important night for our community and everyone who is a Peabody alum. But, all coaches worry about the distractions that come with Homecoming. We will talk about that and try to make sure the distractions are as minimal as possible and our players stay as focused on the game as they possibly can,” explained the coach.