September 22, 2017

Freshman Back Leads Braves over Tigers 33-21

The Braves took a big step towards the post season last night when they scored a big win on the road at Temple. Freshman Duranta Dunson led the way on offense with 227 yards rushing and three touchdowns.

It was the highly touted running back’s third consecutive game with 100+ yards on the ground. Dunson was also once again very instrumental on defense as well making several key tackles.

The Braves completely dominated the first quarter of action on both sides of the ball. A long drive capped off by a Dunson score on fourth and goal to go from inside the one yard line gave the Braves an early lead with 5:36 to play in the first quarter.

A two-point conversion pass from Quarterback Jonathan Hunt to Brandon Smith extended the lead to 8-0. Poor punting by the Tigers set up another score for Dunson just before the end of the quarter and after the missed conversion attempt the lead was 14-0.

The defenses controlled play in the second quarter including a big sack for a ten-yard loss by Braves defensive end Brandon Wiggins.

The half closed with an unusual sequence of events. Hunt completed a long pass to Dunson deep into Tiger territory as time expired.

The Tigers were called for defensive pass interference and Coach Barron was forced to accept the 15-yard penalty and move his team back rather than declining the penalty which would have resulted in the big gain but the half would have been over.

The Tigers were able to stop the Braves on the untimed final play of the half and the score remained 14-0 as the teams headed for the break.

The Tigers attempted an onside kick to open the second half but it went only two yards and the Braves offense took over with nice field position which led to Dunson’s third consecutive touchdown and a 20-0 lead after another missed conversion.

Temple finally got on the scoreboard with a touchdown pass late in the third to cut the lead to 20-7 heading to the final quarter. Early in the fourth quarter, the defense stepped up again when Sophomore Jake Edwards got his first sack of the season.

The Braves didn’t waste much time after they regained possession as Dunson squirted outside for a big 50-yard gain to set up a 36-yard quarterback keeper by Hunt for the score, which seemingly put the Tigers away with the margin at 26-7 with 9:45 to go in the game.

The Tigers would not go away quietly, however, as they came back with a quick touchdown pass to cut the lead back to 26-14. On the ensuing Braves drive on offense, they were faced with a big fourth down and decided to go for it needing about four yards for the first down.

The Braves were called for an ineligible receiver down field on the incomplete pass play which would have given the Tigers the ball, but a late hit on Hunt saved the possession, and this time Coach Barron decided to punt the ball away and try to pin Temple’s offense back deep.

Jonathan Hunt did exactly that as his beautiful punt was downed at the two-yard line of the Tigers. Two plays later the Tigers quarterback attempted to throw the ball away but instead it landed directly into the hands of Braves Senior Tyler Wynn who scampered in  to the endzone easily for a touchdown which put the game out of reach at 33-14.

On the Tigers next drive, Brandon Wiggins and Blake Hardy converged on the quarterback causing him to fumble which was recovered by Dalton Pate.

The Tigers Jermaine Hutchinson, who ran for 172 yards on 17 carries, rumbled in from 65-yards away in the closing seconds to close the scoring and the Braves got the important region win 33-21.

Coach Barron’s squad now sits at third place in the region (2-1) behind Carver and Callaway (3-0). They will travel next week to Columbus to face Kendrick at Memorial Stadium before the most pivotal road game of the season October 21 at arch rival Callaway in Lagrange. (Photos Courtesy of Rodney East)

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