Exactly 308 days have passed since the Unity Christian Lions were shut out by Peachtree Academy on home turf in the second round of the state playoffs.
The Lions did not forget.
In a hostile environment, Unity Christian walked away with a 30-18 victory over two-time defending state champion Peachtree Academy Panthers to remain undefeated at 2-0.
Unity has now won back-to-back regular-season meetings against the Panthers.
“We went with a gameplan tonight to be more physical and to be aggressive,” Lions head coach Nick Jones said in a phone interview. “To take down the defending state champs, it felt really good. It was awesome for us to be able to go into their place and do that.”
Unity got a boost with its senior class returning from quarantine, including senior quarterback Drew King. King got the start under center, guiding the offense down the field on the first possession and capping off the drive with a touchdown and two-point conversion.
“There was a little bit of adjustments that they had to make, I would say in that first quarter,” Jones said. “Drew King just really stepped up to lead for us in pressure moments and all our seniors brought a high level of leadership to our team tonight and so I’m super proud of those guys.”
The Lions never relinquished the lead, holding a 24-12 advantage at the break.
“A real physical game like we predicted it would be,” Jones said. “Back-and-forth game to begin with, and then our defense stiffened up in the second half.”
UC would score one final time in the game. With time winding down, Unity melted the remainder of the clock for the 12-point win and a 2-0 record.
“Our guys had circled this game way on their calendar before the season ever started,” Jones said. “That’s a defining game and I was really happy with our guys stepping up in that moment to be able to execute at a high level.”
Unity Christian returns to Rome and prepares to battle Fideles at Grizzard Park in the “new” home opener next Friday, Sept. 18, at 7:30 p.m.