(Lagrange, GA) – Head coach Allen Sikes and the Heard County Middle School football team knocked off the Callaway Middle School Cavaliers for the first time in HCMS history Thursday afternoon, winning by a final score of 30-14 in the season opener.
In a game actually much closer than the final score appeared, the Braves relied on a strong rushing attack featuring Carlton White, excellent work from the offensive and defensive lines, and key plays by quarterback Emory Jones in the big win.
“We came out today and challenged our guys to play Callaway hard and respond to in a way we hadn’t responded in years against them,” said Sikes. “We just had to focus in on the goal at hand — we wanted to beat Callaway. Our guys came down here with a little bit of attitude and a little bit of swagger — they went to work today.”
The first half was all Braves with a rushing TD and a 2-point conversion from Jones giving the team an early 8-0 lead.
It was Coach Aubrey Westmoreland’s attacking defense that stepped up next when Kendez Goode stripped a Cav player of the ball and recovered it himself in the end zone for a defensive score. White converted another 2-point try to give the team a 16-0 lead at halftime.
A fast 3:03 scoring drive by the Cavs to open the second half cut the lead to 16-6, and a 2-point rush by a big Cav lineman brought the Cavs within striking distance at 16-8.
With 2:09 to play in the third quarter, a key running into the punter penalty on Callaway on 4th and 8 gave the Braves a chance to go for a 4th and 3 near mid-field. Emory Jones fought hard for the first down on the keeper to keep the drive alive and just a couple of plays later White found the end zone once again. The 2-point conversion by newcomer Andrew Leak extended the lead to 24-8.
The Cavs kept fighting, drawing within ten points after another score, but a strong stand by the Braves defense prevented the big Cav lineman from converting. With just minutes to play in the game the lead was 24-14.
On the ensuing kickoff, the Braves were all up close expecting the onside kick, but the Cavs kicked it deep over the Braves’ heads. Carlton White scooped the ball at the Braves 15-yard line and scampered all the way down the right hand side of the field for an exciting 85-yard kickoff return for the final score of the game as the Braves walked away with the first win over Callaway in school history.
Matthew Nilson played well in the game defensively with two big stops in the backfield, and Ryan Crews came through with several big plays on special teams for the Braves.
The team is off next week and will travel to take on Mt. Zion on Thursday, September 12 to take on the Eagles.