The Junior Varsity Braves took on the Bowdon Red Devils at Staples Stadium Thursday in their season opener and continued their winning ways from last season when they went undefeated.
With many of the JV players from last year now playing varsity it was time for some new faces to step up and take over.
A quarterback keeper by Zack Stephens with less than one minute to play in the game gave the Braves the 21-14 come from behind win. Stephens, who completed 5 of his 7 passes for 81 yards and two touchdowns, got the scoring started first in the game when he completed a 19-yard touchdown pass to Jacob Holliday.
Holliday was the leading receiver on the day with three grabs for 38 yards. After Collin Nutt kicked the extra point, the Braves led early 7-0. On the ground, Austin Barron led the way with 62 yards rushing on 12 carries. Stephens had 44 yards rushing including the touchdown.
The Devils got on the board in the second quarter with a touchdown drive but the two-point conversion was broken up by Spencer Hannah keeping the Braves on top 7-6. Stephens then connected with Hunter Lane on a 24-yard touchdown pass before half to give the Braves the 13-6 halftime advantage.
A pass interference penalty late in the game aided another Red Devil score and with the two-point conversion successful, the Devils led the Braves 14-13 with five minutes to play in the game.
The Braves didn’t panic on offense as they methodically put together the game winning drive ending with the Stephens touchdown. Barron ran the ball in for the conversion to put the Braves up 21-14 with only seconds to play.
During the Devils last drive Cole Pate and Spencer Hannah had a huge sack and Lashon Echols and Jacob Holliday made huge tackles to close the win. Defensively, Justin Whitten led the way with 10 big tackles. Barron and Echols each had nine tackles and Holliday finished strong with eight.
Over at HCMS, the middle school Braves suffered a tough 28-13 loss to arch rivals the Callaway Cavaliers.
Jonta Gray scored a touchdown for the Braves early and quarterback Trey Alford connected with Ethan Brant on a touchdown pass as well.
Notably, Trey Wiggins kicked the first extra-point through the uprights in middle school history. Kendaz Goode also had a big fumble recovery on defense for the Braves.
The middle Braves travel to Villa Rica (4:30) Thursday while the JV team will head to Callaway (5:30) also on Thursday. The varsity Braves will open the home schedule Friday versus the Chattooga Indians (7:30).