The Gents, who overcame a 14-0 first-half deficit, drove down the field with two minutes remaining and got to the Peabody 1-yard line with just under a minute to go to set up a potential game-winning touchdown.
But on third down, still from the 1 with 16 seconds remaining, CHS quarteback Andre Mills’ pitch to Chris Lewis on an option was fumbled.
Peabody recovered and Linwood Banks raced 99 yards for a touchdown as the Warhorses escaped with a 26-15 Homecoming victory over the visiting Gents.
“The kids played hard and we tried,” said CHS coach Josh Fontenot, whose squad fell to 1-3 on the season with the loss. “The boys battled back, we just came up short.
“It’s hard. We have just have to grow up. And once again, you’ve got to finish drives. You’ve got to finish on the 1-yard line.”
Early on, the Gents struggled to sustain drives, much less finish them.
They ran just 25 plays and had four first downs in the first 24 minutes of the contest, threatening just once before an interception thwarted that drive at the PHS 18-yard line.
In all, the Gents rushed for 82 yards and completed just one pass for 17 yards in the first two quarters.
“The first half was just horrible,” said Fontenot. “The first half, we just didn’t play very well. Peabody was giving us opportunities and we just didn’t take advantage of them.”
Grant Trahan started at quarterback for the Gents in place of Mills, who was at receiver due to a shoulder injury, and struggled with consistency. The sophomore, making his first ever varsity start, misfired on seven of his eight pass attempts, completing just one for 17 yards to Mills. He also rushed five times for 22 yards.
“Grant struggled a little bit and there’s nothing wrong with that,” said Fontenot. “He’s trying his heart out; he was just a little overwhelmed. That’s part of it, part of growing up. He’ll get better and he’ll have better days.”
Peabody took a 6-0 lead early in the game on a 22-yard pass from JeQuan Dwellingham to Josh Gaston. They then added to the lead on a 4-yard run by Dwellingham to take a 14-0 advantage into the break.
The Warhorses also had two fumbles in the red zone in the first half that were recovered by the Gents.
Coming out of the break, Fontenot elected to move Mills back to quarterback and that seemed to spark the Gents.
Mills led the Gents on a 62-yard drive late in the third quarter that was capped by a 26-yard touchdown pass to Chanz Moore.
The senior quarterback then guided the Gents down the field again. He hit Danny Malbrough on a 34-yard pass and then took matters into his own hands and broke free for a 14-yard run. Mills capped the eight-play drive with an 11-yard touchodwn scamper and added the 2-point conversion run to give the Gents a 15-14 lead with 6:39 remaining in the game.
Peabody answered with an 11-play drive that resulted in a Glenn Roberson 2-yard touchdown run to put the Warhorses back on top, 20-15.
Mills finished the night with 10 rushes for 113 yards and a touchdown. He also completed five passes for 85 yards and touchdown to go along with a reception for 17 yards.
“Andre played his heart out and I’m so proud of him,” said Fontenot of Mills. “Look at what he did; he brought us back. He has a hurt shoulder. He shouldn’t even be playing and he just played his heart out.”
Mills connected with Chanz Moore three times for 49 yards and a touchdown and he hit Malbrough once for 34. He also completed a pass to Chris Lewis for two yards.
On the ground, Lewis followed Mills with 67 yards on 16 carries. Malbrough rushed for 35 yards on 11 carries and Trahan had five carries for 22 yards.
Roberson led the Warhorses with 17 carries for 94 yards and a touchdown. Dwellingham added 83 yards on 23 carries and also completed four passes for 61 yards and one touchdown.
“Right now, it’s tough,” said Fontenot. “The boys are hurting. We’re losing games that we shouldn’t be losing. We’re a better football team than this. But they’ll fight through it.”