Staff Photo by Robin Rudd Gordon Lee's Cade Peterson returns an interception into Dade County territory Friday night during the season opener for both teams in Trenton, Ga.

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Dade County vs. Gordon Lee

TRENTON, Ga. — Visiting Gordon Lee held off a stubborn Dade County team Friday night in opening the season with the first win for new head coach Josh Groce.

"This means a lot to me," Groce said after the Trojans' 28-16 victory. "This has been a dream of mine for a long time. Being able to get the first win is an out-of-body experience right now."

The Trojans were led by workhorse Cade Peterson, who racked up over 180 yards rushing, 122 of which came in the first half.

"(Peterson) worked hard," Groce said, "but those guys don't get those kinds of plays without good blocking in front of them."

After stopping the Wolverines on a three-and-out on their first possession, Gordon Lee marched down the field to score a touchdown. Peterson capped the six-play drive with a 37-yard rushing score. Jacob Neal added 2 points with a conversion run to put the Trojans up 8-0 near the midway point of the first quarter.

Gordon Lee picked off a Dade County pass on the next possession, which set up Peterson for his second score of the game. He cruised into the end zone from 25 yards out. The ensuing 2-point conversion failed, but the Trojans had a 14-0 lead with 1:19 to go in the first period.

After establishing a decent drive on its next possession, Dade turned the ball over on downs.

The Wolverines then stepped up to stop Gordon Lee, and a botched snap on the punt almost guaranteed them excellent field position, but the Trojans' Henry Ellis picked up the ball and eluded Dade's tacklers to gain 28 yards and a first down.

Peterson scored his final touchdown with 6:06 to go in the half.

Dade got on the scoreboard three minutes later. Isaac Pangle scored from 20 yards out and Malaki Webb tacked on a 2-point run to make the score 21-8 going into halftime.

It was a defensive battle in the second half with the teams swapping possessions several times.

Dade drew closer to the Trojans' lead when Webb scored on a 41-yard run. He also added a 2-point conversion with 4:50 to go in the third period.

But hopes of a Wolverines comeback win were reduced when Gordon Lee's Brody Cobb scored on a 20-yard sprint at the 1:41 mark in the third, and no one scored in the fourth.

Groce said his team has "a lot of things to straighten out."

"That's on both sides of the football and special teams," he said. "We've got a lot of things to fix. But we are going to enjoy this win, and then we will get back to work."

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