November 17, 2017

Braves kick Wolves in the privates early to score Sweet 16 road trip

(Franklin) — The Heard County Braves (6-5) made history Friday night at Staples Stadium where a dominating first half on both sides of the ball fueled Coach Tim Barron’s 2014 squad to a 28-21 victory over the visiting Wesleyan Wolves (6-5) in the first round of the GHSA Class AA State Playoffs.

The Braves led 28-0 late in the second quarter and held on to survive 21 unanswered points from the Wolves.

The win marked the first ever state playoff win for the Braves over a team from the always formidable Region 6-AA which consists primarily of private metro Atlanta schools.

Senior tailback Duranta Dunson once again carried a huge part of the load scoring two touchdowns and rushing for 277 yards on 32 carries, however the efforts and big plays by several Brave players were most crucial to the win.

Freshman quarterback Emory Jones played arguably the best game of his young career completing 3-of-4 passes for 68 yards and a touchdown while he gained 50 yards on the ground on just eight carries.

The Braves looked impressive early on offense taking the opening kickoff and driving 74 yards with junior Austin Barron punching it in from the one-yard-line while eating up 6:02 minutes of the first quarter clock.

Coach D.J. Curbow’s defense also answered the bell with a quick start including a Diamond Delgado fumble recovery on the Wolves’ opening offensive drive setting up a 3-yard TD run by Dunson giving the Braves a 14-0 lead after one quarter.

The Braves outgained the Wolves in total yardage for the night 433-231 with the majority of the Wesleyan damage coming in the second half.

A great touchdown grab by senior wide receiver Zack Stephens on a 40-yard TD pass from Jones gave the Braves a three score lead early in the second quarter and they continued to pour it on later in the quarter when Dunson broke free for his longest run of the night, a 61-yard TD rush on a 3rd down and 32 extending the lead to 28-0.

Freshman QB Emory Jones  (#6) led the Braves offense to 28 first half points. Jones helped propel the Braves with his arm and his legs rushing for 50 yards and throwing a TD pass to Zack Stephens

Freshman QB Emory Jones (#6) led the Braves offense to 28 first half points. Jones helped propel the Braves with his arm and his legs rushing for 50 yards and throwing a TD pass to Zack Stephens

Despite moving the ball well the most of the night, Dunson’s TD would be the last score for the Braves as Wesleyan came back with the three unanswered scores to put a scare in the Brave Nation.

The Braves special teams recovered an onside kick attempt by the Wolves with under three minutes to play in the game to help secure the first round 28-21 win.

The Braves defense balled all game long with several big hits in addition to having the two takeaways.

The defensive led by Dunson, Elijah Toney, Matt Brown and a host of other Braves set the tone for the night by shutting down the Wolves offense early in the game.

“I am so proud of our kids not just because of this game but for just continuing to come out and work each week and not put their heads down. Not many groups of kids can come back from a 1-4 start to win five of six and beat a dang good private school in the playoffs — but this bunch has done it,” said Coach Barron after the game.

“The slow start and the tough schedule worried me for a while because it took a lot of our confidence away, but this group showed they are a resilient bunch of kids. I am so proud of these guys and how they believed in each other , the program, and our system.”

The Braves next advance to round two and will face the longest road trip in Heard County history next Friday night when they travel to Sylvania to take on the Screven County Gamecocks (10-1), the top seed from Region 3-AA (Kickoff @ 7:30 p.m).

“Obviously, it will be a long drive and that will be an adjustment for us but you know what we still have to go down there and play a football game,” Barron stated. “We are going to be playing a number one seed from Region 3-AA so we know we are getting that region’s best — so let’s just line up and go play and see what happens and see if we can go to another round.”

It will be the third straight season the team has advanced to round two and a win would match the 1991 Braves for the farthest advancement into the state playoffs in school history.

 

Comments

  1. robert montgomery says:

    With all respect to ALL THE TEAM, MR DUNSON, can’t you fail school this year so WE can get one more year!! YOU kept me warm last night! lol

  2. Thanks for an article with some class. I read an article from Wesleyans local newspaper and was deeply offended. I won’t repeat the things they said about our Football program. I would just ask the author to read your article with a teachable spirit. Let me just say I’m looking forward to playing Lovett in a couple of weeks. I hope we win the coin toss as it would be a Great night for Heard County to watch our kids play another game at home. GO BRAVES !

  3. You need to make it past Screven County before you worry about Lovett.

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