January 16, 2019

Brave Senior Class Secures 3rd Region Title

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(Temple, GA) — The 2015 edition of the Braves varsity football team etched their names into the Heard County High School history books Friday night in Temple by defeating the Tigers 38-14 and earning the Region 5-AA Championship trophy.

The region crown was not secured with Friday night’s win alone as the Braves had to wait around for a while in hopes that Bowdon would knock off Bremen in a huge rivalry game at Warren P. Sewell Field in Bowdon.

Early in the night it seemed the Red Devils would win easily as they held a 27-7 halftime advantage.

However, the Blue Devils fought back in the second half and were driving for a potential game-winning score before the Red Devils’ Cason Parmer intercepted a Blue Devil with just seconds on the clock to secure a 33-28 win knocking Bremen out of the title picture.

Head coach Tim Barron was extremely proud of his team for achieving one of their biggest goals.

“I am just awfully proud of those kids. We always talk about leaving it better than you found it and one of those things to do that is to regain that region title back and they did that tonight,” said Barron after the game.

“I just hate that we couldn’t find out sooner so with the players still out here so we could’ve all celebrated together but we will go find them and we will enjoy this moment.”

The senior Braves become the first class to win a region football championship three times following up trophies earned in 2012 and 2013.

For Coach Barron and staff, the title marks their fifth in 14 seasons with the Braves, a remarkable run especially considering the Braves never won a region title in the 30 years prior to their arrival in 2002.

Friday night’s win came in spite of a good effort from the Tigers who actually led the game early on after a defensive stop and a Wesley Griffith 12-yard TD run that gave the home team an early 7-0 lead.

The Braves would battle back quickly behind a dominant offensive line and a strong rushing attack. Senior lineman Hunter Lane, Jacob Bishop, Andrew Cannon, and Chandler Moon along with upstart freshman Michael Cheney opened some big holes as the braves rushed for three first quarter touchdowns in less than eight minutes.

Leading the way was senior tailback Austin Barron who found pay dirt on runs of 72 and 43 yards. Barron had three TD’s on the night and led all rushers with 227 yards on just 14 touches for an average of over 16 per carry.

Barron has continued to play through pain after returning from an early season ankle injury but seems to be on his way to being fully healthy, or at least as healthy as any player can be this deep into the season.

Another back who seems to be getting back to near 100 percent is junior Ethan Brant. Brant scored two touchdowns and ran for 52 yards on nine carries.

The Tigers did a good job of controlling the Braves’ passing game as all 370 yards of the Brave offense came on the ground. Junior Dayvin Troy had another nice game carrying the rock for 92 yards on five rushes.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Braves shut down the Tiger offense for most of the night after the first scoring drive allowing Temple just 118 total yards (59 passing, 59 rushing) on the evening.

All-State Senior Matt Brown led the way with 17 tackles and a sack with three tackles for losses. He also caused a fumble that the Tigers were able to recover.

Senior Diamond Delgado left the game early with an injury but not before making five tackles and two huge sacks. Senior Austin Dean and junior Jonta Gray also again had big efforts defensively with double-digits in tackles.

Other players coming up with sacks or partial sacks included Mike Holmes, David Urquilla, Jaden Moreland, Emory Jones, Rad Brooks, Gray, and Lashon Echols.

Moreland also stopped a Tiger drive with his modern-day Brave record sixth interception of the season.

On special teams, Austin Miller had some return yardage, and junior kicker Trey Wiggins again had a flawless performance splitting the uprights on all five PAT attempts and a 29-yard field goal in the 4th quarter.

Coach Barron was very impressed by the improvements in the Temple program.

“I thought that we came out a little flat and weren’t quite ready to play early in the game,” said Barron. “But anybody that has watched Temple’s games and films has seen that they have played very physical this season — they are so much better than they have been in the past. As coaches we knew this was going to be a tough battle for us — we are beat up and sore after playing these guys tonight.”

Despite the Region Title and playoff seeding being decided for the Braves, Barron still expects a tough, physical battle next week at Bremen where the Blue Devils will still be fighting for playoff seeding.

“Next week is still a big week for us going to Bremen. We have to play a really physical and well-coached football team and it is going to be  a tough challenge for us,” Barron stated. “Our kids are going to have to come in and work hard next week so we can get ready for that game on Friday.”

In addition to securing the Region 5-AA crown for the Braves, Friday night’s region results also landed the Manchester Blue Devils the No. 2 seed and a home state playoff game.

With a win at Chattahoochee Co. next week, the Red Devils would secure the No. 3 seed leaving the Blue Devils at No. 4. The Blue Devils need a win over the Braves and a loss by the Red Devils to secure the No. 3 spot.

Regardless of this upcoming week’s results, the Braves (6-3, 4-0) will host the Greene County Tigers (5-4, 3-2) from Region 8-AA in the first round of the GHSA Class AA State Playoffs on Friday, November 13 at Staples Stadium.

Region 5-AA schools continued to honor Miss Lilly Scott as the Marching Bands of both schools came together at halftime to play “You’ll Never be Alone” in Lilly’s honor. Temple High School also honored her by creating banners and painting her initials on the field near the Braves side of the field.

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