September 25, 2018

Braves turned away at Darlington

(Rome, GA) — The Braves varsity football team suffered its first loss of the season in Rome Friday night where they fell to the Darlington Tigers 28-14.

The Braves led the game 14-0 early before the Tigers stormed back with 28 unanswered points in the first ever battle between the two top 10 programs.

The Braves got off to a very quick start with junior Damion Hart intercepting a pass and returning it 44 yards for a TD on the Tigers’ first offensive play.

Coach Tim Barron’s squad scored quickly again in the first quarter on a 10-yard TD pass from Emory Jones to Jaden Moreland, but following that play it was all Tigers.

The Class A private school power controlled the clock with a strong running game on offense and their defense kept Jones on the run for most of the night.

Jones threw for 142 yards on the night with the TD and two interceptions. Jones also rushed for 36 and senior DayVin Troy gained 51. Moreland caught six passes for 78 yards.

The Tigers out-gained the Braves in total offense 358 to 274.

The biggest momentum shift of the game came late in the first half with the Braves leading 14-7. After a big gainer to Austin Miller set the Braves with a first and goal and the chance to go up two touchdowns, the Tiger defense stiffened and forced a missed field goal.

The Tigers would score on an 80-yard drive in just three plays to tie the game at 14-14 with under 30 seconds to play in the first half.

Elijah McKoy led the Tigers with 172 yards rushing on 26 carries and three TD’s.

Coach Tim Barron was most disappointed in the lack of physicality from his squad.

“They were just more physical and a lot hungrier than us,” said Barron following the loss. “They are a dang good football team — if they were in AA they would be right up there in the top 10 as well. They are just a very well-coached football team and an established program — when they had a little adversity they just handled it.”

“For us my biggest concern was that they could just line it up and run it down our throats like they did, but sometimes you line up and somebody just whips you,” added Barron.

“I think we will be a better football team if we can correct the part about being physical. We win at Heard County because we are physical and if we ever lose that edge we are in trouble. I know our skill set is better set up for us to throw it around, but if we can’t lose that edge — our kids have to strive to be a more physical football team.”

Friday night captains for the game were (L-R): Austin Miller, Brandon Skipper, Peyton Ehlers, and Andrew Leak

Friday night captains for the game were (L-R): Austin Miller, Brandon Skipper, Peyton Ehlers, and Andrew Leak

The Braves won’t have much time to think about the first loss of the season as they must get ready for a big game versus Central of Carrollton at Staples Stadium next week.

The game with the Class AAAA Lions presents an interesting match-up for the Braves who have never beaten the Lions, although the two squads have only met four times and none during the Barron era.

The Braves have been outscored 178-16 in the four losses to the Lions in 1982, 1983, 1998, and 1999.

The Heard High Cheerleaders are encouraging Brave fans to arrive early and “Black-Out” Staples Stadium this Friday for the game that is expected to draw one of the largest regular season crowds in school history.

Gradick Communications out of Carrollton will be on hand for the “Tailgate Show” prior to the game which will be broadcast live on B92.1 Country. Casey Bass and Clay Harden will call the game action.

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