Takeaways from Georgia showdown on ESPN

Nigel Warrior (second from left), Chad Clay (far right) and their Peachtree Ridge teammates (Rob Saye/Special for the AJC)

Nigel Warrior (second from left), Chad Clay (far right) and their Peachtree Ridge teammates (Rob Saye/Special for the AJC)

ESPN was in Atlanta on Saturday to televise a matchup between two of the state’s top high schools, Peachtree Ridge and Archer.

And there was plenty of star power with at least 15 prospects with major-college offers between the two Gwinnett County powerhouses.

Here are five takeaways from Archer’s 26-10 win:

1. Peachtree Ridge without key starters

Peachtree Ridge may have lost quite handedly, but the team was without several notable players, including 5-star defensive back Deangelo Gibbs (ankle), 4-star linebacker Breon Dixon (shoulder) and 3-star inside linebacker Kam Jones (undisclosed reason). It also didn’t help that Nigel Warrior, a 4-star defensive back, was playing through a strained hamstring.

2. A tale of a quarterback and pickle juice

Peachtree Ridge quarterback Connor Heyward must’ve ran a combined six miles on Saturday night thanks to a struggling offensive line and a suffocating Archer defense. When the 3-star athlete came limping off the football field due to cramps in the second half, he rested on one knee and started drinking pickle juice.

3. Thoughts on Kyle Davis’ performance  

Kyle Davis, a 5-star receiver for Archer, may have had catches of 39 and 42 yards, but both came off of what appeared to be coverage lapses by Peachtree Ridge. And though he finished the game with 107 receiving yards, I thought it was a quiet evening for the UGA target. He had a chance at a first-half touchdown on a slant route against Baylen Buchanan, a 3-star cornerback, but couldn’t hold onto the football after contact. Of course, he was also playing against arguably the best secondary in the state. 

4. Jamyest Williams is tough

Jamyest Williams, the 4-star cornerback from Archer, is anything but soft. Despite his 5-foot-9, 170-pound frame, he absorbs contact well. In the second half, he took a handoff from the shotgun, came off the edge and went head-up with Baylen Buchanan near the right sideline. Williams barreled over him. He finished the night with 86 yards on 25 carries and one touchdown.

5. When ESPN invades

To be expected, parking at Archer was downright atrocious. I had to park roughly a mile away on the side of the road. I guess that’s what happens when ESPN invades Lawrenceville. The stadium was packed, despite the fact that the game was on national television. This was Georgia high school football at its finest.


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