December 2, 2020

Braves turn away Tigers in region opener

(Temple, GA) — The Heard County Braves scored an impressive 35-14 road win over a much improved Temple Tiger squad to open Region 5-AA play at Rogers Stadium Friday night.

The Tigers battled hard during the first half backed by a huge home crowd and only trailed 7-0 at the half before the Braves jumped out to a 21-0 lead after the third quarter.

The momentum shifting play of the third quarter was a 68-yard TD run by junior Aaron Beasley on just the second play from scrimmage following the break to extend the lead to 14-0.

Beasley had another big rushing night for the Braves scoring three times and gaining 132 yards on just 10 carries. The Brave newcomer in 2017 also had a big night on defense with several big hits and a first half pancake block on a rush by QB Emory Jones.

Jones had another solid passing night for the Braves completing 12 of 19 for 338 yards including a 69-yard dagger TD pass to Jaden Moreland to put the Braves up 35-7 late in the game.

The Tigers would add a late TD against the junior varsity Brave defense.

Junior Andrew Leak scored the other Brave TD on a short rush set up by another long completion from Jones to Moreland. Leak also had a big receiving night from the tight end position catching three passes for 94 yards.

Moreland led the Brave receivers with 130 yards on three receptions including the TD.

The Braves dominated the field position with 498 total yards while the Brave defense continued to play strong holding the Tigers to just 178 total yards on the night.

Tray Dunson had two sacks on the night from the DE position and lineman Qua Thornton played well recording a big tackle for a loss and a crucial fumble recovery early in the third. Kendaz Goode also had another strong night including a sack.

Junior kicker Jakab Moon was a perfect 5-for-5 on the PAT attempts.

Coach Tim Barron was pleased with the outcome despite the slow first half start.

“It was a very physical game and they were getting after us and created some problems for us in the first half. Even though we had good energy — we have to make some better decisions in those situations,” said Barron. “But with that being said we came out in the third and executed well which was good for us.”

The Brave captains for the game were junior David Urquilla, senior Kendaz Goode, sophomore Kesean Johnson, and freshman Tae Gray.

The Braves will get two weeks off before returning home to Staples Stadium on October 13 for one of the biggest regular season games to ever be played at Staples Stadium when the No. 2 state ranked and arch-rival Callaway Cavaliers come to Franklin.

Barron sees both positives and negatives in the back to back bye weeks.

“You know there are certainly pros and cons. It gives you a good chance to heal up but it will be a challenge to stay in game shape — that’s just something you can’t recreate in practice,” said Barron.

The Braves (5-1, 1-0) will host the undefeated Cavaliers (5-0, 0-0) in a game for the ages with Region Championship implications clearly on the line as well as the Pulpwood Classic trophy that has been held by the Cavs for four straight seasons.

The Cavaliers are off next week and host Lamar County on Thursday October 5 before heading up to Franklin on the 13th.

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