December 14, 2017

Braves usher in new season with scrimmage at Staples

Brave Athletic Director Shane Lasseter and head coach Tim Barron present the Program Dedication plaque to Mrs. Penny Hood prior to Friday night’s 26-14 scrimmage win over Lagrange (Photo: Rodney East)

(Franklin, GA) — The Braves varsity football team ushered in the 2017 season with an early home scrimmage versus Lagrange Friday night, outlasting the Grangers by a composite score of 26-14.

The majority of the Brave Nation fans were clad in blue to honor freshman Granger, 14-year-old Nar’Quevious Tucker, who passed away tragically during a team function at the Lagrange College pool last weekend.

After a moment of silence, the Marching Braves played ‘Amazing Grace’ prior to the National Anthem. Donations buckets were on hand at both concessions stands to raise money for Tucker’s funeral expenses and family.

Additionally, prior to the scrimmage, long time high school faculty member Mrs. Penny Hood was honored during the program dedication. The majority of her family was on hand for the surprise presentation.

Mrs. Hood has been an educator for 34 years, 32 with the Heard County school system where she has taught science and biology and been over the media center and yearbook. Hood is also very dedicated to the athletic department, logging countless hours taking photographs for the various sports.

The game itself was very similar to the 2016 scrimmage as for the second straight season the Braves jumped out to a 20-0 lead in the third quarter before the Grangers bounced back late. The fourth quarter is reserved for junior varsity and younger players only with the stadium actually keeping separate scores.

After winning the first three quarters 20-0, the Grangers edged the Braves 14-6 in the fourth for the 26-14 overall final.

Senior QB Emory Jones had a very productive night, although junior back-up Alijah Huzzie started and called the signals during the first few plays of the games.

The recruiting stock of senior wide receiver Jaden Moreland has been sharply on the rise during the off-season and he quickly showed all in attendance why that’s the case as he played well on both sides of the ball.

Moreland grabbed and interception to halt the Grangers first drive and made an outstanding TD grab under tight coverage on a pass from Jones to put the Braves up 6-0 early.

Freshman Tae Gray breaks a long TD run for the final Brave score of the game in the 4th quarter Friday night (Photo: Rodney East)

Jones would carry it in himself as time expired in the first half to give Coach Tim Barron’s squad a 13-0 halftime lead.

The senior signal caller and future Ohio State Buckeye would find Brave Nation Player of the Week Micaiah Austin for another TD in the third quarter.

Junior Jakab Moon handled the PAT duties and was successful on two of three.

The kicking game and special teams will be an important area for the Braves in 2017 after the departure of four year starting kicker and punter Trey Wiggins, who will be at UWG this season.

Junior newcomer Aaron Beasley also made an impact early for the Braves and will be a key player on both sides of the ball this season. The running back and linebacker played with the Bowdon Red Devils the last two seasons before moving to Heard during the offseason.

Speedy freshman Tae Gray scampered in on a long TD run to close out the scoring for the Braves in the fourth quarter.

Coach Tim Barron was pleased with some things he saw although it is still very early in the process.

“It was awfully good for us tonight and I was excited to see us being able to run the football and our offensive line being able to move the line,” said Barron after the game. “It’s still early and we had tons of mistakes but it was neat to see what we might be able to do this year — if we can run the football it will open so much up for us.”

While excited about some of the things he saw from his squad during the controlled scrimmage, Barron recognized the devastating week the Grangers had just experienced.

“Compared to what that program over there has been through this week — football is just irrelevant,” said Barron.

“We’re just praying hard for that team that’s going through something that they just shouldn’t have to. Teenage boys shouldn’t lose their friends at that age, coaches shouldn’t have to bury children — a mother and a daddy shouldn’t have to bury their son. We just hope and continue to pray that sometime in the future their school and the Tucker family will be able to find some peace. We know that football was the furthest thing from their minds this week.”

The Braves will travel to Chapel Hill in Douglasville next week for another scrimmage game before returning home to Staples Stadium on August 18 for the season opener and Hall of Fame game versus South Atlanta.

A total of 17 former Brave players, coaches, and community members will be inducted in the inaugural class of the new hall.

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