This will be the first time the Peachtree Ridge Lions and Walton Raiders have faced off, despite both being regular playoff teams in Class AAAAA.
Peachtree Ridge, still a young school, shared the state title in 2006 in only its fourth year of existence. In 2008 they beat Grayson in overtime to make the finals again, where they lost to Camden County. Their postseason success continued until last year, when the Lions missed the playoffs for the first time since 2005 with a 6-4 record. With a brand-new head coach, last year’s offensive coordinator Mark Fleetwood, the Lions are hoping to get back on top.
The Raiders, while lacking a state title, did make it to the playoffs last year, losing in the first round to Norcross. Many of the starters on last year’s team are back, giving Walton considerable experience in their pro-style offense with players like senior OL Harrison Davis, WR Cody Richardson and QB Parker McCloud. Running back Tyren Jones transferred in from Lassiter to give the Raiders another weapon on offense.
While Walton is armed with experience, Peachtree Ridge’s change in leadership presents a unique challenge.
“They have a new coach, so we don’t know what they’re gonna be doing on offense or defense,” said head coach Rocky Hidalgo.