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Staff Photo by Robin Rudd / Gordon Lee's Cade Peterson (10) picks up yardage. The Lafayette Ramblers visited the Gordon Lee Trojans in a GHSA rivalry game on September 18, 2020.

CORRECTION: This story was updated at 10:39 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, to correct the name of Kameron Oliver. It had previously stated Cameron Roberts.

CHICKAMAUGA, Ga. — Athletes are famous for spouting the cliche, like "I just want my next game to be better than the last."

For Cade Peterson that might be a difficult proposition.

The Gordon Lee High School senior running back has one-upped himself in the Trojans' last three games, topped by Friday's 279 yards and three touchdowns on just 14 carries in a 42-7 rout of previously-undefeated Mt. Zion-Carroll. Two of his scores covered 77 and 83 yards.

It's an effort that has earned the multi-sport star this week's Times Free Press Player of the Week honors, and it comes after rushing for 206 yards against Bowdon and 170 yards on just seven carries against Southeast Whitfield three games ago. That's 655 yards on 39 carries, nearly 17 yards a pop.

"He's a workhorse," Gordon Lee coach Josh Groce said of the 6-foot-1, 185-pound Peterson, who also plays baseball. "It's not just what he does on the football field, it's what he does off it as well. He works out 24-7 and I have to remind him not to wear himself out."

The combination of power and speed, along with that work ethic, Groce says, is what separates Peterson from most backs. There's also a new weapon he's unleashed this year.

"He's become Derrick Henry with the stiff arm," Groce laughs. "His explosiveness also stands out. Up front we've done a great job of getting him to the second and third level, but once he gets there he has an explosion you rarely see."

Both coach and player laud the work of a veteran offensive line that features Chandler Brown, Dylan Burnett, Michael Akins, Kameron Oliver and Garrett Morton.

"We've got size we haven't had here before," Groce said. "In our wing-T those guys have to work together and they are doing a great job of that. I was just watching one of Cade's big runs and Kameron Oliver sets up the run with a block and gets back up and in front of him to make another one to get him to the second level. You have to have that to get big plays."

Added Peterson, who has 1,039 yards and 16 touchdowns through seven games, "The line, really, was the big reason for what I did the other night. Every time I hit the hole it was open. All I had to do was make one cut. It gives me confidence knowing that."

There also might have been a little extra motivation for the Trojans after losing the week before to Region 6-A public rival Bowdon by two points. It was a game they thought was winnable and it made winning a region championship much more difficult, especially with then 6-0 Mt. Zion up next.

"That's what really drove us, that they were undefeated and we wanted to end that," Peterson said. "It made us drive harder at practice."

It was the 6-1 Trojans' first taste of adversity, so Groce was pleased with the way his team responded.

"It was very heartbreaking because you've got goals and plans and all of a sudden you have to change those goals a little bit," he said. "That's one thing about this year, we've gotten used to adjusting. You're going to have games like that where you don't play up to par, but we responded well and I think the guys are ready to finish out strong."

Contact Lindsey Young at lyoung@timesfreepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @youngsports22.

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Staff Photo by Robin Rudd / Gordon Lee's Cade Peterson (10) breaks a tackle to score his second touchdown of the game. The Lafayette Ramblers visited the Gordon Lee Trojans in a GHSA rivalry game on September 18, 2020.
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