Milton vs. Peachtree Ridge: Milton’s First Playoff Test
November 26, 2020
On a cold night in Canton Georgia, the Milton Eagles were able to steal a region championship from the Warriors of Cherokee by a score of 41-29. Milton worked the run game to perfection behind the legs of Junior Jordan McDonald and Sophomore Bryce Thornton to seal the victory. Milton’s win marks their first ever back to back to back region championships as well as an undefeated season for the first time since 1952.
Switching focus to this week, the Eagles (9-0) will host the Lions of Peachtree Ridge (4-4) in the first round of GHSA Playoff games. Peachtree Ridge is coming off a 40-3 loss to the hands of Mill Creek. Friday’s matchup will mark the first time the two schools have played each other.
The winner moves on to the next round of playoffs to face the winner of Gainesville vs. Archer, and the losers season comes to an abrupt end.
This year marks Peachtree Ridge’s first trip to the playoffs since 2016. Early in the season, Peachtree Ridge started 3-0 with wins coming against Pebblebrook, Discovery, and Centennial. Then they dropped their next three games against Collins Hill, South Gwinnett and North Gwinnett. The Lions were able to get back in the win column with their victory against Mountain View and then losing their final game to Mill Creek. One interesting note is Peachtree Ridge’s four wins came against teams who all had a combined record of 11-27.
Leading the Lions’ offense is Senior Quarterback Kyle Kingsbury. Kingsbury specializes in finding the open receiver and taking his time to do so. However, he does not have the strongest arm, therefore he compensates by putting more air under the ball more so than a typical Quarterback.
Senior Brandon Cade is the Lions’ main running back. Cade is good at finding and running into open space.
Peachtree Ridge’s number one receiver is Senior Michael Hernandez. Hernandez does a fantastic job at running his route and getting into open passing windows so he can get easy receptions.
Peachtree Ridge’s defense is letting up around 30 points per game. The leader of the defense is Senior defensive lineman Jaylen Madden. Madden is a big man who can rip through the offensive line.
Senior Kyle Brown is the number one man in the Lions secondary. Brown is great at play recognition and getting back to the football and making the tackle.
Once again Milton flexed their offensive firepower by putting up more than 40 points for the second straight game. Much of the offensive success can be credited to Junior Running Back Jordan McDonald. Blocking on the line and on the perimeter played key for McDonald’s success as well. One aspect that helped Milton win was the special team’s play. At one point in the second quarter, Cherokee had a bad snap on a punt which rolled into the endzone and then recovered by Milton’s Dayne Edwards. Unfortunately, for Cherokee, their special team’s miscues would not end there. One more instance was when the Cherokee returner muffed a point and was recovered by Milton’s Cam Canion which set up a Milton touchdown.
Junior Devin Farrell will see the field at Quarterback for the tenth time this season. Last week Farrell threw seven completions for 76 yards and one interception. However, most of Farrell’s damage was done running the ball with 67 yards on 14 carries, and multiple huge runs on third down.
Milton’s offensive MVP was no doubt Junior Running back Jordan McDonald. McDonald had 22 carries for 259 and four touchdowns. McDonald could have yet again another huge week against Peachtree Grove. Milton’s other Running back, Sophomore Bryce Thornton, had four carries for 22 yards and one touchdown.
The Eagles’ leading receiver was Junior Adam Freas. Freas had three receptions for 33 yards including a 26-yard strike to help set up a Milton touchdown. Junior Tight End Jack Nickel had two receptions for 22 yards.
Milton’s defense came in clutch in the second half, only letting up two Cherokee touchdowns. The Eagles did a terrific job at getting after AJ Swann and forcing him to make some bad throws. They also held star Running back Keith Adams JR. to a career-low 67 yards and essentially eliminating him from the game.
Junior Linebacker Dylan Miller led the defense with ten total tackles and one tackle for loss. Junior Linebacker AJ Crawford had eight tackles. Junior Linebacker Owen Pauley had seven tackles and one pass deflection.
Sophomore Lebbeus Overton led the defensive line with five tackles, three tackles for loss and two sacks. Senior Connor Gay had five tackles and one sack. Senior Brendan Doyle had three tackles and one sack.
Sophomore Cornerback Bryce Thornton led the secondary with five tackles and pass deflections. Safeties Zyere Hornton and Garrett Smalley combined for ten tackles. Junior Cornerback Cam Canion had four tackles and one pass deflection.
Keys to Victory: Peachtree Ridge
Peachtree Ridge needs to come out and test Milton with everything they got. This includes trick plays, big runs and deep throws from Kingsbury. In addition, the Lions defense needs to stop Milton’s offense and put their offense right back out on the field. A special team’s score would also be key for Peachtree Ridge if they want any chance at taking down the Eagles.
Keys to Victory: Milton
Just like last week, the goal here is simple, get McDonald hot. Once McDonald is hot, there is no stopping him no matter how good a defense is. It would also be nice to see Farrell air the ball out and hit the deep ball. For the Eagles defense, a shutout here would be terrific for their confidence for playoff games down the road.
Following a fantastic region championship win Milton comes into this game as heavy favorites. The Eagles come out hot and stop Peachtree Ridge multiple times in the first half. The offense picks up right where they left off from the last game and McDonald finds the endzone multiple times in the first half. Farrell also has himself a field day, connecting to multiple receivers for scores. Milton goes into the half with a 28-0 lead. Milton then comes out and easily puts this game away behind the high-flying offense. The defense only lets up a field goal and plays fast and physical for yet again another game. Milton wins this game easily and advances onward to the next round of playoff games.
Offensive Player of the Game: Devin Farrell
Defensive Player of the Game: Cam Canion
Have a happy Thanksgiving Eagle Nation from all of us here at The Eagle Edition!