November 29, 2020

HCMS Braves top Rebels in Overtime Thriller

(Franklin) — A huge crowd gathered Thursday at Heard County Middle School for eighth grade recognition day and were treated to arguably the most exciting football game in middle school history as the Middle Braves knocked off the Haralson County Rebels 44-42 in overtime.

The Braves opened up the game with an onside kick and recovered it at the 50 yard line to gain some quick and early momentum. The short drive was capped off with a Gage Cannon score from two yards out and the two-point conversion by Andrew Leak gave Coach Sikes’ squad an early 8-0 lead.

The Rebels would come back strong on their ensuing drive when quarterback Nick Kent carried the ball 63 yards on the second play of the drive to close the gap to 8-6 after the missed two-point play.

Andrew Leak scored from three yards out on the next Braves’ drive to extend the lead to 14-6 before a Kent 55-yard TD pass to Phillip Haldeman and a two-point conversion by Gavin Benton tied the game at 14-14.

The teams exchanged touchdowns and two-point conversions to tie the game at 22-22 at the half. Braves quarterback Alijah Huzzie found David Urquilla on a 20-yard pass play with the two-point play from Andre Watkins.

After two Brave turnovers in the third quarter the Rebels were able to capitalize with another long run by Kent to give the Rebels their first lead at 28-22. A long kick return by Andrew Leak set the Braves up with good field position on the ensuing drive and Leak blasted into the end zone to tie the game once again at 28-28.

The Braves seemed to be in trouble after a long drive and another Kent TD put the Rebels ahead 36-28 with just 1:29 to play in the game but the braves quickly responded with a five play 55-yard drive and a Gage Cannon short TD to tie the game at 36-36 and send it to overtime.

The Rebels took over possession at the 15-yard line in the first overtime and took the lead on a short touchdown run by Treylon Shepperd, but the crucial conversion attempt failed leaving the score 42-36 Rebels as the Braves took over their possession needing at least a TD to stay in the game.

Andrew Leak (#34) carries in the game-winning two-point conversion in Thursday's wild 44-42 thriller won by the Middle Braves in overtime (Photo: Khris Martin)

Andrew Leak (#34) carries in the game-winning two-point conversion in Thursday’s wild 44-42 thriller won by the Middle Braves in overtime (Photo: Khris Martin)

The Braves did not take long as Cannon scored again on the very first play setting up a two-point try for the win. Leak pounded it in once again to give the middle Braves the uber exciting 44-42 victory over the Rebels.

“This was the highest scoring middle school game that we have ever been a part of. We did not have an answer for Kent today but our guys just kept battling to the very end,” Sikes stated after the game.

“After locking up home field advantage with our big win at Temple last week, we feel like our guys might have overlooked this Haralson County squad. We have got to go back to work on Monday and get ready for Villa Rica who played us tough three weeks ago.”

The Braves will battle the Villa Rica this Thursday at HCMS at 5:30 in the semi-finals of the league championship. The Braves defeated the scrappy Wildcats 24-12 three weeks ago at HCMS.

In the other semi-final Thursday Bowdon will travel to Temple. The winners of those two games will play for the Middle School Championship trophy on October 23. If the Braves advance they would host the championship game.

The Braves have won 10 straight small school division games with their last loss coming in the 2012 championship game.

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