(Cussetta, Ga) – The Brave Nation traveled south Friday night for the longest road trip of the regular season to battle the Chattahoochee Panthers in a Region 5-AA tilt. Coach Barron and the Braves walked out of the stadium with a 5-0 record after a 40-14 win in a game that was much closer than it appeared by the final score.
After a scoreless 1st quarter the Braves got on the board first on a 48-yard screen pass from Jonathon Hunt to Junior fullback Ta Freeland. Freeland had one of the best games of his career finishing with 79 yards rushing and three catches for 116 yards and two touchdowns.
Hunt also finished with a big night completing 5 of 11 passes for 172 yards and 2 TD’s. In addition, he returned a kickoff 57 yards for the last touchdown of the game. The Braves have scored 40+ points in all five games this season.
Duranta Dunson also scored two touchdowns giving him a total of 15 at the halfway point of the regular season. Dunson tallied 156 yards on 11 carries. He has now amassed 837 rushing yards during the first half of the season.
The offensive line continued to play well although Hunt was sacked for the first time this season.
Defensively, turnovers were huge for Coach D.J. Curbow’s defense. Senior Dillian Bradley led the way with two interceptions and he also forced another fumble which was recovered by Zack Stephens.
Spencer Hannah also recovered a fumble late in the game. Late in the 3rd quarter Hunt put the most vicious hit of the season on the Panther quarterback causing a Duranta Dunson interception.
Perhaps the biggest bright spot of the night for the defense was the execution of three goal-line stands in the game including one where they stopped the Panthers on back to back plays from the 1-yard-line. Collin Nutt was 4-6 on the PAT’s with one being blocked.
The Braves outgained the Panthers in yardage 509-284 with 93 of that coming on a late offensive fumble recovery that was advanced 93 yards for a touchdown versus the second team defense.
The Braves have a few banged up guys that will hopefully be ready to go next Friday when the Braves return home to take on Manchester in a huge game with major playoff implications.
The Blue Devils and Braves are the lone unbeaten squads in 5-AA. In other region games Kendrick upset Bremen 12-8, Bowdon dropped Jordan 49-27, and Manchester buried Temple 41-0.
Three top 10 AA schools lost Friday night meaning the Braves will likely move up at least one spot in next week’s rankings.