Peachtree Ridge Lions (6-AAAAAAA)
Coach: Reggie Stancil
Last week: Beat Lambert 7-0
West Forsyth Wolverines (5-AAAAAAA)
Coach: Shawn Cahill
Last week: at Roswell postponed by lightning
It may have been shortened by lightning, but last week’s 7-0 win over Lambert was the first tangible sign of how far Peachtree Ridge has come since a disappointing 1-9 campaign from 2018.
Not that there haven’t been other positive signs in the previous two games, but the win has definitely made a difference in the Lions’ energy and confidence level, and they’ll need both heading into Friday’s game against another team from neighboring Forsyth County in the Wolverines, who feature some very familiar faces among their coaching staff.
“There is a difference,” Peachtree Ridge coach Reggie Stancil said of his team’s demeanor in practice this week. “Even though we lost those first two games, us playing better has gotten the kids starting to believe. They also understand that we didn’t play four quarters (last week), and we’re going to have to (against West Forsyth).
“I’m very familiar with (head coach and former Lanier offensive coordinator Shawn Cahill’s) coaching staff. Their offensive coordinator (Chad Davenport) and defensive coordinator (Bill Ballard) were both at Peachtree Ridge when I was (an assistant) at Norcross, and (their teams) played us really hard every year.”
Indeed, West Forsyth figures to bring plenty of effort despite a slow start, and will look to veterans like junior cornerback Cory Collins to help counter Wolverine playmakers like receiver Casey Cowart.
But what made a big difference for the Lions last week, and Stancil is convinced will need to happen again, is that other players will have to step in and produce when called upon.
“One of the things that was huge for us (last week) was that we had some guys hurt, but other guys stepped up and had to play,” Stancil said. “And we didn’t miss a beat, and that put us in a good position.”
Last meeting: West Forsyth won 28-7 last year
Location: West Forsyth High School