The Virginia-bound Ellis finished with 262 yards — all but 10 before halftime — and ran for a school-record six touchdowns, en route to a 59-20 in the first round of the Class AAAAAA state playoffs at Frank Fillmann Stadium.
Most of Ellis’ lengthy runs of the first half came through the middle, and Lassiter (7-4) had no answer. He had bursts of 47, 28, 54 and 78 yards to throw the Trojans off balance.
“He was certainly faster than he appeared on film,” Lassiter coach Jep Irwin said of the 5-foot-10, 216-pound Ellis. “We lost some gap control and had problems adjusting to the size, and that’s how they were able to get up the middle so many times.”
Ellis’ 28-yarder on Peachtree Ridge’s first drive set up his own score from 3 yards. With the score tied at 14-all early in the second quarter, he opened another drive with a 54-yard run and, four plays later, scored again from 13 yards to give the Lions (8-3) their first lead at 21-14.
The lead just kept growing.
Ellis’ next score came on a 78-yarder with 3:23 left in the half to extend Peachtree Ridge’s lead into double digits, and he cashed in again from 1 yard after the Lions blocked a Lassiter punt and recovered it on the 2.
Once the second half began with a 45-20 Peachtree Ridge lead, the Lions scored on their first two drives of the third quarter, with Ellis punctuating them with a pair of 1-yard touchdowns.
Ellis may have had his way with Lassiter’s defense, but the Trojans’ offense came out clicking in the first quarter.
The third play of the game was a 27-yard touchdown strike from Will Anderson to Quincy Perdue. After the Lions tied it, the Trojans took the lead again when Anderson hit Blake Wilson for a 26-yard touchdown with 4:23.
That lead was short-lived, however. Three plays later, Peachtree Ridge quarterback Chance Thrasher connected with Tyler Campbell on a screen pass that turned into a 65-yard touchdown.
Lassiter methodically moved the ball down the field on the ensuing drive but it stalled on the Peachtree Ridge 38 when the Lions applied extra pressure to Anderson, forcing him to miss receivers. The Lions continued to pressure Anderson and sacked him four times before the first half expired.
The Trojans kept themselves in contention late in the second quarter when Anderson hit Purdue on a slant that became an 18-yard touchdown, cutting the Peachtree lead to 31-20.
But Peachtree seized control for good late in the half on Ellis’ 78-yard touchdown and the blocked punt.
“We started strong but gave up too many plays and didn’t score enough points,” Irwin said. “But we had a great season. We were region champs and I can’t say enough about our seniors.”