July 20, 2018

Braves outlast Grangers in early scrimmage

The Braves defeated the Lagrange Grangers 20-13 in the first scrimmage of the season Friday night at Callaway Stadium in Lagrange.

The Braves defeated the Lagrange Grangers 20-13 in the first scrimmage of the season Friday night at Callaway Stadium in Lagrange.

(Lagrange, GA) — The Brave Nation traveled to Lagrange Friday night to take on the Lagrange Grangers in a very early scrimmage and outlasted the Class AAAA Grangers 20-13 after a big defensive stop on fourth down by the junior varsity Braves defense with under 15 seconds to play in the game.

The Brave varsity squad looked sharp in the first half and for a short time in the third quarter before giving way to the younger guys.

Coach Barron’s first string squad led 17-0 at the half and then 20-0 before the Grangers got on the board late in the third. Two late turnovers helped the Grangers to close the gap to the final score of 20-13.

Junior quarterback Emory Jones had a nice game in limited action completing 7 of 12 passes for 157 yards and two TD’s. His numbers would have been even stronger if not for three dropped passes.

Jones found newcomer Drew Hopkins, a senior, on a 44-yard TD strike to open the scoring late in the first quarter. Jones then found senior Austin Miller for a 62-yard TD pass on the first play after a brief lightning delay in the second quarter.

Senior kicker Trey Wiggins continued his sharp kicking from a year ago connecting on field goals from 35 and 25 yards away. Dayvin Troy also had some nice runs in the backfield to help lead the offense.

The defensive was led by a host of Braves including Hopkins, Mike Holmes, Jaden Moreland, Jonta Gray, Ethan Brant, Luis Vasquez, and David Urquilla.

Sophomore QB Alijah Huzzie did a nice job in relief of Jones and other junior varsity guys who played well included sophomore Tray Dunson, freshman Wyn Denney, and another freshman Aden McClellan. McClellan had a nice sack against the varsity Grangers.

Coach Barron was pleased with the performance of his guys considering they just donned pads for the first time this week but he knows they still have a long way to go and a lot of work to put in before the regular season kicks off at South Atlanta.

“There are two ways to look at it,” said Barron after the game Friday. “If you look at as if we had only three practices in full pads and how we executed then you’re like ‘Holy Cow that’s pretty dang good’ — but if you look at it relative to where we need to be then you can tell we have got to get a lot better.”

The Braves return a lot of talent at the skill positions this season, but in the trenches and on defense have  a lot of new players.

“We knew we had a lot of new faces out this year,” added Barron. “We know the passing game is going to be there for us but we don’t want to be a one-dimensional football team — we have got to be able to run the ball and establish the running game. We’re good for where we are at but we’re not very good as far as where we want to be.”

The Braves had several players banged up in the scrimmage but hope to have most everyone healthy within one to two weeks.

Outside the lines, the story of the night was the huge contingent of Brave Nation faithful that made the trip down to Lagrange. The Heard County side appeared to outdraw the home Grangers at Callaway Stadium.

The Braves will host another Class AAAA squad the Chapel Hill Panthers at Staples Stadium this Friday (7:30 PM) before traveling to Lakewood Stadium on August 18 for the unusual Thursday night regular season opener at South Atlanta.

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