LAWRENCEVILLE — Normal service has been resumed for the Archer Tigers.
After a turbulent start to the season, filled with weather delays and a 10-7 loss to Mill Creek that never made it to halftime, Archer returned home and defeated the Norcross Blue Devils 31-0 with four different players scoring touchdowns.
“We’re trying to grow each day and grow each week,” Archer head coach Andy Dyer said. “I’m so proud of their attitude and the way they practice. They did a great job.”
Archer’s defense stifled the Blue Devils all night, leaving the visitors without so much as even a red zone trip.
Maybe it was the rust of not playing a full game in two weeks, but it took the Tigers (3-1) some time to get going on offense. A brisk first quarter saw both teams keep the ball on the ground for the most part, but neither side found much success.
The first big momentum shifter came early in the second quarter when Andrew Spearman intercepted a pass from Norcross quarterback Harris Celata, returning it down to the Norcross 22.
But the Blue Devils responded by forcing a quick three-and-out against an Archer offense still not out of first gear, and Andrew Waters missed a 32-yard field goal wide left.
“It was a lack of execution,” Dyer said of the first quarter. “There’s no excuse. Not winning first down a few times, and Norcross did a good job putting pressure on us and forced some of those mistakes.”
But on their next possession, the Tigers left nothing to chance.
Archer quarterback Carter Peevy scrambled out of the pocket on fourth-and-12 midway through the second quarter, and found 18 yards of space to move the chains and extend the drive. Three plays later, Peevy made a big throw to the back of the end zone on third-and-9, hitting Trey Messer for a touchdown to break the scoring seal.
The Tigers put another scoring drive together to close the half. Peevy drove the offense 39 yards in 1:42 to move the ball into field goal range, and Waters redeemed himself by hitting a 44-yard kick as time expired to make it 10-0 Archer at the break.
Archer came out of halftime and ripped off chunk play after chunk play on the first possession of the third quarter. Renaldo Spivey Jr. broke off a 15-yard run to start the drive and Peevy followed up by grabbing 10 of his own on the ground. After a 18-yard pass to Andrew Dyer moved the ball into the red zone, Peevy scampered into the end zone from 10 yards out to make it 17-0.
Things went from bad to worse for the Blue Devils when Jose Quezada fell on a fumbled exchange at the Norcross 15. Two plays later Schmari Campbell took a toss to the right side into the end zone untouched for a 12-yard touchdown.
After a very slow start, the blowout was on.
“They’re a great football team and a great program,” Norcross head coach Keith Maloof said. “I was proud of the way the kids fought in the first half. We came out in the second half and fumbled on the opening drive. That killed us. I thought our kids battled hard. We’ll go back to the drawing board and start region play.”
Spivey Jr. became the fourth different Tiger to find the end zone when he powered the ball home from a yard out after Campbell took it down to the one on the play before.
The Tigers completely imposed their will at the line of scrimmage, rushing for 190 yards on 36 carries against an exhausted Norcross (0-4) defense. Jordon Swain led the way with 68 yards, followed by 53 from Peevy, 43 from Spivey Jr., and 26 from Campbell.
“It all starts with the offensive line,” Dyer said. “They (the running backs) all did a great job running the football. They’re building a little chemistry amongst themselves. We know we can get two, three, four hard runs and then the next guy up. We can get some fresh legs and tandem this thing.”
Archer will look to keep the groove going in a big road game against Buford, while Norcross will try to get on the board with a win at Central Gwinnett.
“I feel like our schedule makes us improve,” Maloof said. “We think we have gotten better since day one. We just have to keep working.”
ARCHER 31, NORCROSS 0
Norcross 0 0 0 0 — 0
Archer 0 10 21 0 — 31
Archer: Trey Messer 13 pass from Carter Peevy (Jacob Waters kick) 4:10
Archer: Waters 44 FG, 0:00
Archer: Peevy 10 run (Waters kick) 9:55
Archer: Schmari Campbell 12 run (Waters kick) 4:09
Archer: Renoldo Spivey Jr. 1 run (Waters kick) 1:03