ALPHARETTA — Whitefield Academy senior Charlie Perdue kicked a 22-yard field goal in overtime as the Wolfpack beat St. Francis 20-17 on Friday.
Whitefield (3-1) won the coin toss before overtime, and coach Coleman Joiner elected to put his defense on the field first. The players did the rest, keeping the Knights from scoring before Perdue’s game-winner.
“Our defense did a great job to start overtime,” Joiner said. “I knew, when I won the toss, I wanted them on the field first, because they’re who we’ve hung our hat on all season, and they did a great job shutting the door. Once we got out there on offense, we wanted to take care of the football and give ourselves a chance to maybe punch it in. But we had all the confidence in the world in our kicker, Charlie Perdue, that, if we could just get him a chance, he was going to send this one home.”
Whitefield (4-1) improved to 3-0 in Region 6A play. The Wolfpack are in search of their first region title since 2008.
“That’s huge,” Joiner said. “We’ve talked about it the last couple of years. We want to win a region championship and knew this would be a huge, huge win. We knew going into this that’s one of the better football teams in the region. They are not the same St. Francis that they’ve been in the past, and that’s what I told our coaches. Probably the best offensive and defensive lines we’ve faced all season.
“To not only win this game is huge, but to be resilient and come out after halftime and be down and then go down again in the fourth quarter and bounce back, and finish like we did, I don’t think we’ve won a game like that in the history of the school. That kind of does something for us going forward. Like I said, we want to compete for a region championship, and I think we have a team that can do it if they keep fighting like they did tonight.”
Sophomore quarterback Cole Peterson threw two touchdown passes and split time with freshman Ayden Duncanson. Duncanson threw for 70 yards and ran for 14, while Peterson threw for 68.
“They’re both different,” Joiner said. “They’re both young and they work really, really well together, and I’m really proud of both of them that neither of them are too big to share those reps. Cole does a great job managing the game and getting us in the right spot, and we trust him a ton, and Ayden is just a freshman, but he’s extremely dynamic and he plays a lot of spots for us, and we love being able to snap it to him and get some different things. They both came through big time for us tonight, and I’m really proud of both of them.”
Peterson hit wide receiver Myles Redding on a 13-yard touchdown to tie the game at 17 with 3:28 remaining. The Wolfpack’s other touchdown opened the scoring on a 32-yard pass from Peterson to senior receiver Bryce Davis in the first quarter.
Whitefield then fell behind after a 4-yard score by St. Francis running back Kyle Smith — also in the first quarter — and then a 23-yard field goal by St. Francis kicker Jake Heintzleman. The Knights’ touchdown came after a kickoff return by Hunter Jones to the Whitefield 25. The field goal also came after a big play, when Marcelus Hazleton picked off Peterson and returned it to the Whitefield 34 in the second quarter.
Senior Jaden Griffith ran for a team-high 27 yards on 12 carries, while Davis had 3 catches for 80 yards. Redding caught five balls for 43 yards.