November 30, 2020

Times-Georgian: ‘Beasley has Braves on title rush’

Courtesy of Corey Cusick and the Times-Georgian

(Franklin, GA) — As the Heard County High School football team braces for the No. 1 defense in all of Class AA in the state semifinals on Friday night, Aaron Beasley aims to be a difference-maker in catapulting the Braves to Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

The junior tailback/safety has been a key asset for Heard County head coach Tim Barron on both sides of the ball, but upon facing a Hapeville Charter defense loaded with Division I talent, it’s going to take the bruising rushing style of Beasley to sustain drives and have success against the Hornets (12-1).

“This week he’s going to have to be a downhill guy. They run so well. You’re not going to out-run this bunch. It’s just not going to happen. Their back end, counting those inside backers, outside backers and secondary, they close so fast,” Barron said. “You watch film on those guys and they close it down so fast that Beasley’s got to be a guy that’s downhill picking us up three, picking us up four.”

Hapeville Charter enters Friday night’s 7:30 semifinal showdown at Staples Stadium surrendering just 6.7 points per game and has held opponents to single digits in nine of its 13 games this season, including five shutouts.

The Hornets feature the Region 6-AA Defensive Player of the Year in senior defensive end and South Carolina commit Kingsley Enagbare, along with defensive back Chris Smith, a Georgia commit

But there’s much more in the arsenal than just those two guys, as Barron has yet to find a weakness at any level of the defense.

“A lot of times when you game plan somebody, you can find something personnel-wise that you want to attack,” Barron said. “There’s nobody on that defense that we can look up and say, ‘Hey, we want to attack this young man.’ They just don’t have it. They’re that talented.”

Along with an incredible physical talent, the key ingredient that Beasley has delivered upon joining Heard County (12-1) this fall is balance to an offense that includes one of the top quarterbacks in the nation for the Class of 2018 in Emory Jones and two dynamic receivers with senior Jaden Moreland and junior Alijah Huzzie.

“We’ve had some really good running teams and we’ve been able to throw the ball at times, but to have that balance, that’s been the key for us offensively this year,” Barron said. “Defenses have to defend the run game, defend the pass game. For us to have that balance, it makes us a much more dangerous offense to prepare for.”

Junior Brave running back Aaron Beasley (Photo: Corey Cusick/Times-Georgian)

Beasley, who rushed for 132 yards and a touchdown in last week’s historic state quarterfinal win at Thomasville, has made the most of his time in Franklin this fall after transferring from nearby Bowdon over the summer, noting how there’s a strong chemistry with his teammates.

“I’ve gotten really comfortable with them. I’m with them every day almost. We’ve just bonded together and on the field we just click. It’s like we’ve been playing together since we were kids,” Beasley said.

Barron has also noticed a nice comfort level since Beasley joined the Braves.

“He’s mixed in well. He’s a quiet kid. He’s not a loud, outspoken young man. He doesn’t talk a whole lot, but you can see from his interactions and smiling where you know he’s comfortable,” Barron said. “Of course, I’m sure it was tough to leave a lot of good friends and good people in Bowdon. I know that was hard on him and he still stays in touch with those guys and they’re still important to him, but he’s fit in well with us.”

Looking ahead to Friday’s matchup with the Hornets, the 6-foot-1, 205-pound Division I recruit believes the Braves have the firepower to put points on the board against one of the stingiest defenses in the state.

“I don’t feel like Hapeville has played anybody all season that has both the running game and passing game. We’ve got that, so I feel like it gives us a better advantage,” Beasley said.

Of course, he understands that nothing is going to come easy on Friday night and it’s going to take Heard County’s best effort to pull out the victory and advance to the Class AA state championship game.

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