Dunson (#5) battles for yardage in the trenches behind big Jake Edwards (#57) during Friday’s 27-0 shut out. (Photo Courtesy of Hunter Parmer/The Warcy)
(Franklin) — In a peculiar turn of events Friday night at Staples Stadium, the Braves Region 5-AA match-up with Kendrick was postponed for over 30 minutes because of the absence of one of the most important parts of the game, the officials. Due to some scheduling errors, the referees for the game arrived late forcing both teams to go through two warm-up periods before kickoff.
Prior to the game, the Braves Marching Band played a powerful version of “Amazing Grace” in honor of Austin Pope and Brian Jackson.
Once the game was underway it became clear this would not be a typical rout over a Columbus team as the Kendrick Cherokees opened the game with an impressive drive marching methodically down the field with a very physical rushing attack.
Kendrick would not find the end zone though as junior Duranta Dunson returned an interception 91-yards for the first of his four touchdowns on the night.
The Cherokees did not learn well from that mistake and on their very next play from scrimmage Dunson once again grabbed a 25-yard pick-six to put the Braves on top 14-0 midway through the first quarter.
Remarkably, the Braves did not run a single offensive play in the first quarter where Kendrick dominated the clock while the Braves dominated the scoreboard.
The Braves defense made a big stand on a fourth and short play early in the second quarter which led to Dunson’s third score, on a 69-yard pass completion from Senior quarterback Jonathon Hunt. Dunson added his final TD in the third quarter to seal the scoring.
“We are very proud of the defense tonight — they played well,” said head coach Tim Barron after the game. “It was amazing how many reps we played on defense in the first half. I am sure the boys were a little bit tired but if it is because you are scoring on defense it is not a bad thing.”
In the first half, the Braves only ran seven offensive plays and possessed the ball for only 3:29.
When asked about the ref situation, Barron remained positive. “Hopefully, we made a little more at the concession stand tonight, ” said Barron.
The Braves take on another region foe at Staples next week when they host the Chattahoochee County Panthers.