July 20, 2018

Braves earn first win in school history over Lions

(Franklin, GA) — A jam-packed Staples Stadium saw the Heard County Braves earn the first victory in school history over the Central of Carrollton.

The Braves (4-1,0-0) scored four unanswered touchdowns to defeat the Lions 28-7 in the first meeting between the two schools since 1999.

Before Friday, the Lions (0-4, 0-0) had dominated the series going 4-0 and outscoring the Braves 147-16. Senior DayVin Troy led the way for the Braves carrying the ball 23 times for 122 yards and two touchdowns while also bringing down a timely fourth quarter interception on defense.

Special teams may have been the key to the win for Coach Tim Barron’s squad with a blocked field goal and some shut down kickoff coverage.

Senior Drew Hopkins had the big blocked field goal early in the first quarter while juniors Damion Hart and Jaden Moreland each made monster hits on kickoff coverage. Senior Trey Wiggins was 4-for-4 on PAT attempts to round out the solid night of special teams work.

The Brave defense also played well holding the Lions to 226 total yards of which 82 came on a breakaway TD by Lion quarterback Ray Cheeks early in the game. The Lions failed to get anything going on Coach D.J. Curbow’s defense in the second half.

Break-out sophomore Andrew Leak led the Braves in tackles with 14. Not far behind Leak were Peyton Ehlers and Jonta Gray with nine tackles each and Hopkins with eight. Mike Holmes finished with seven stops despite being shaken up late in the game.

Senior Ethan Brant played well on both sides of the ball with a big fumble recovery on defense as well as a rush for a first down on a huge 4th down attempt late in the game.

Other leaders on the offensive side of the ball were quarterback Emory Jones who ran for 42 yards and a touchdown on eight carries, Leak who scored on a short touchdown run, and Holmes who had 46 yards rushing on just four carries.

The Braves managed 313 yards of total offense.

The offensive and defensive lines continue to grow and develop as best they can each week despite a plethora of injuries to an already inexperienced group.

Outside of the lines, the big story for the 2016 season has been the atmosphere and fan involvement at the newly remodeled Staples Stadium each week.

Several factors have contributed to the new “electricity” at the stadium on Friday nights including the Marching Braves under the leadership of new band director Eric Vogel, the cheerleaders under coach Amanda Horn, and the newly formed “Timbo’s Tribe” student section right behind the team.

The theme idea for home games has evolved each week with a large percentage of participation in the “Black-out” for the Central game.

The enormous and highly anticipated Central Pride Marching Band (240 members) did not disappoint those in attendance and in fact both bands received huge ovations after their respective halftime performances.

Also adding the big game “aura” of the game versus Central was accentuated by the presence of the pregame “tailgate show” presented by Gradick Communications from Carrollton.

Tailgate show hosts John Grey and Charles Jetmore interviewed several Heard County High School officials, coaches, and students prior to the game.

Casey Bass and Clay Harden called the game action live on B92 Country. Bass and Harden will return to Staples gain this week to call the game on Great Classics 98.9 as the Braves host the upstart Temple Tigers in the Region 5-AA opener.

Coach Barron and the Braves will face a much different Tiger squad this season that enters the game with a 4-0 record for the first time since 2002.

Although those four wins have come against weaker opponents, the Tigers indeed appear to be on the rise after a couple of very successful seasons at the middle school level.

The Braves own an 8-2 all time record in the series including a winning streak of six straight since the two teams became a part of the same Region 5-AA in 2010. The Braves (2006) and Tigers (2010) are the two oldest members of Region 5-AA.

The upcoming game this Friday night is also in the running for Fox 5’s High 5 Sports Game of the Week. To place your vote visit High 5 Sports. Be sure to refresh the page and vote as often as you like!

The theme for this week’s game will be “Red, White, and Blue America.” The game kicks off at 7:30 PM this Friday. Tickets are $8 at the gate or $6 each via presale at any Heard County School. Children 6 and under are admitted free of charge.

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