Brookwood scored a come-from-behind win over on Friday night to escape the Lions Den with a 30-27 victory in the first round of the Class AAAAA football playoffs.
Quarterback Zach Moon found B.J. Sammon with 47 seconds remaining in regulation to tie the score at 24. Then in overtime, Sammon scored again on a 9-yard end around run to give the defending state champions (8-3) the victory after the Lions (8-3) had kicked a field goal on the first OT possession.
Football is thought of as a game of physical strength, in which the team that wins the battle in the trenches and gets the best of the pushing match wins the game. But it's also a game of momentum and is influenced by big plays. The Lions discovered this first-hand Friday night.
In a punishing night of running the ball, the Lions rushed for 369 yards, including an amazing 312 by Diandre Atwater. The Lions outgained the Broncos 400-249 yards and ran 74 offensive plays to the Broncos' 44.
But the Broncos took advantage of Peachtree Ridge turnovers and scored touchdowns on plays of 79 and 34 yards to force the overtime period. Sammon was the hero of the night for Brookwood, scoring three touchdowns and finishing with 178 yards receiving and the nine yards rushing on the game-winner in overtime.
Both schools have become regulars in the post-season playoff dance. Brookwood notched its 10th consecutive post-season appearance this year, while Peachtree Ridge played for the fifth time in the last six seasons.
The two schools met for just the second time Friday night. The first meeting came in the second round of the 2009 state playoffs, and Peachtree Ridge won 21-6.
The Lions looked a little jittery to start the game. QB Billy Best was intercepted on the opening drive, which set up the Broncos on the Lions 18-yard line. Brandon Morrow converted on a field goal to open the scoring for a 3-0 Brookwood lead.
Then on the Lions next possession, Best fumbled a snap on the second play and Conner Hennessey scooped up the ball and returned it 31 yards for a touchdown and a 10-0 lead.
In the second quarter, Moon found Sammon on a play-action pass that went for 79 yards and the Broncos were up 17-0.
It looked like the game might turn into a rout, but on the very next play Atwater burst through the Broncos line and ran 62 yards to put Peachtree Ridge on the board.
After stopping the Broncos on their next possession, the Lions started a drive at their own 1-yard line. They drove the ball to the Broncos 1 on 15 plays before stalling. Connor Rouleau added three points and the Broncos' lead was 17-10 at the half.
The first-half statistics didn't reflect the scoreboard. PR had completed no passes but had 228 yards rushing, led by Atwater with 183. Peachtree Ridge had run 36 offensive plays to Brookwood's 13, but the Lions trailed 17-10.
In the second half, the Lions stopped the Broncos on their opening possession and then went on a 13-play drive of 79 yards to tie the score at 17. Brookwood returned the ensuing kickoff 73 yards to the Peachtree Ridge 26, but failed to cash in on points and the teams were locked in a 17-17 tie entering the final period.
In the fourth quarter Dorian Pogman intercepted a Moon pass to set up the Lions on the Broncos 43. Six plays later Atwater scored his third rushing touchdown of the night on a 15-yard run to put the Lions ahead 24-17.
The Broncos started their final drive of regulation on their own 27. On second-and-10 wide receiver D.J. Brown caught a lateral behind the line of scrimmage on what appeared to be a reverse. But the play was a pass and Brown found Sammon on a 41-yard hookup to set up the Broncos on the Lions 32. Just two plays later, with 47 seconds left, Moon connected with Sammon on a slant and Sammon ran the ball in for a 34-yard touchdown.
There was more drama in overtime. The Lions had the opening possession and on the third play, Atwater appeared to have his fourth touchdown of the night. But the score was called back due to an offensive holding penalty. The Lions settled for a 34-yard field goal from Rouleau. Brookwood took advantage and scored on its second play in the overtime period on Sammon's run.
It was the first home playoff loss ever for the Lions, who were previously 6-0 all-time. It was also the first time the Lions (8-3) have lost in the first round.
BROOKWOOD 30, PEACHTREE RIDGE 26 OT
Brookwood: Brandon Morrow 39 yard kick 9:02
Brookwood: Conner Hennessey 31 yard fumble return (Morrow Kick) 8:42
Brookwood: Zach Moon 79 yard pass to BJ Sammon (Morrow kick) 10:55
Peachtree Ridge: Diandre Atwater 62 yard run (Rouleau kick) 10:34
Peacthree Ridge: Connor Rouleau 20 yard kick 0:24
Peachtree Ridge: Diandre Atwater 21 yard run (Rouleau kick) 4:43
Peachtree Ridge: Diandre Atwater 15 yard run (Rouleau kick) 9:41
Brookwood: Zach Moon 34 yard pass to BJ Sammon (Morrow kick) 0:47
Peachtree Ridge: Connor Rouleau 34 yard kick
Brookwood: BJ Sammon 9 yard run
Peachtree Ridge – Best 4-10-31
Brookwoo – Moon 6-15-167, Brown 1-1-41
Peachtree Ridge – Horn 2-5, Harris 1-15, Dixon 1-11
Brookwood – Sammon 4-174, Cole 1 (-2), Tompkins 1-7, #3 1-29
Peachtree Ridge – Atwater 32-312-3, Dixon 7-57, Best 13-0
Brookwood – Tompkins 12-21, Cole 3-23, Moon 7-(-16), Sammon 1-9