Pepperell used an explosive offensive attack and a few timely defensive stops to earn a tough 34-20 victory over visiting Pickens County on Friday night in Lindale.

“I’m really proud of our guys,” Pepperell head coach Rick Hurst said. “The biggest thing I told them is the coaches put together a great plan for them tonight and they executed well. We had a really good off-week last week and got better.”

Quarterback Shannen White finished 8-of-13 passing for 127 yards and two touchdowns, while also running for 88 yards and another touchdown on the ground. Payton Rhoades recorded four receptions for 99 yards and two scores.

Hurst didn’t make a decision on who was going to be manning the quarterback position until shortly before kickoff. White made the most of it after getting the nod over Gage Moses — who left the game against Darlington with an injury in the season opener.

“(White)’s got the potential to be a really good one,” Hurst said. “We’re fortunate we’ve got two options that are really, really good. They both do some of the same things well. I’m not one to do platoon, but we’ve got to figure out ways to get both him and No. 14 (Moses) on the field.”

After Pickens (1-1) botched a punt in the second quarter, Pepperell took advantage of the good field position and got on the board first with a 24-yard touchdown pass from White to Rhoades.

Twenty-one seconds after the Rhoades touchdown reception, Pickens got a 69-yard catch-and-run for a score on a dart from C.J. Streicher to Jarod Whitmore.

Pepperell (1-1) scored twice more before the break, with White scampering for a 36-yard score after the offense was set up nicely by a 55-yard Tra Robinson kickoff return. Another strike from White to Rhoades from 16 yards out and a Ryan Hurst extra point gave the hosting Dragons a 20-13 halftime lead.

Josh Ross added a 10-yard touchdown run and Moses rumbled into the end zone from 25 yards out in the third quarter to wrap up the scoring for Pepperell.

Pepperell will face its second straight Class 4A opponent next week hosting Heritage-Catoosa at Dragon Stadium before jumping into Region 7-AA play.

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