For Peabody fans, last week’s 54-7 win over archrival Gibson County was revenge for last season’s upset, but to Tide players and coaches, the victory marked the first time in school history that the football program finished the regular season with a perfect 10-0 record.
Peabody Head Coach Shane Jacobs explains, “We had a good week of preparation. I know, for a lot of our guys and a lot of people in town, this game was for revenge, but we stayed focused this week on the game being about us and getting better. We came into the season with the goal of playing our best football in November. For us, that is what it was about. A lot of people are not going to buy that based on what happened last year. I am really proud that we played well and got out of this injury-free. We are excited about going into the playoffs.”
Peabody enters the state playoffs as Region 7-2A’s number one seeded team. The Tide is bracketed to host —- in a first round game set for Friday at Walter Kilzer Stadium. Kickoff is 7 p.m.
Last Thursday in a Halloween night game, Peabody avenged last year’s nightmare loss to Gibson County and put a screeching halt to the Pioneers’ 6-4 season. The Tide totally dominated the game in all three phases by rolling up 433 yards of total offense, limiting GCHS to only 117 total yards and executing big plays on special teams.
Assisting Trenton’s explosive offensive attack, the Tide defense was responsible for 20 points off turnovers.
Peabody relinquished the football on downs, when its initial series failed due to a fourth down incomplete pass in the Red Zone. The home team defense immediately made its presence felt, when special team standouts Jacquez Wilkins blocked a punt and Carson Vandiver executed a scoop-and-score TD on the fumble return from inside the Red Zone. The extra point kick was off-target, but Trenton led 6-0.
Peabody would go on to tally the first 19 points of the contest on Wilkins’ 37 and 19-yard TD bursts. After Isaiah Hicks’ first two extra points drifted just outside the goal post uprights, reserve placement kicker Parker Vernon booted an extra point for a 19-0 lead.
Continuing to play hard, Gibson County finally broke its scoring drought, when senior running back Jake Patterson caught a 19-yard TD pass from quarterback Will Cantrell and Hayden Crandall tacked on the extra point kick for a 19-7 score with 2:50 left in the half.
Set-up by his 34-yard kickoff return, Noah Halbrook dashed for a 31-yard touchdown to culminate a two-play possession. Vernon’s extra point elevated the score to 26-7. After the visiting squad was relegated to a three-and-out series, Jarel Dickson caught a tailback screen pass from quarterback Cooper Baugus for a 31-yard touchdown and Vernon added the extra point for a 33-7 lead at halftime.
The second half was all Peabody as the Tide tacked on three touchdowns and a trio of extra points by Hicks to expand the final score to 54-7. Scoring were: Dickson, on a 27-yard gallop around the wide side of the field (10:20 third quarter); Halbrook, on a 52-yard post pattern bomb from Baugus (6:02 third quarter) and Khalik Ganaway, on a two-yard plunge up the middle (11:21 fourth quarter).
Statistically, Peabody amassed 235 yards rushing and 198 yards passing for 433 total yards and 14 first downs and Gibson County managed 50 yards on the ground and 67 yards through the air for 117 total yards and eight renewed series. Tide quarterback Cooper Baugus completed 11-of-15 passes for two touchdowns and Pioneers signal caller Will Cantrell went 4/19/3 in the aerial department.
PHS relinquished its only fumble and GCHS retained both drops. The home team was penalized on five occasions for 53 yards and the visiting squad was flagged seven times for 35 yards.
Offensive leaders included: rushing – Khalik Ganaway, with nine carries for 79 yards and one touchdown; Jarel Dickson, with seven runs for 57 yards and one TD; Jacquez Wilkins, with three attempts for 56 yards and two scores and Noah Halbrook, with five tries for 53 yards and a six-pointer and receiving – Halbrook, with seven catches for 142 yards and a touchdown; Dickson, with four receptions for 56 yards and one score.
Top defenders included: Logan Whittemore, with five solo tackles, six assists, one quarterback sack and three tackles for loss; London Burkett, with four primary strikes and one secondary hit; Dickson and Rafe Hannah, with three initial contacts, two help-outs, one QB sack and two TFL each; Wilkins, with 3-1 and a TFL and Allen Jones, with 2-0.