November 24, 2020

Barron’s 4 Touchdowns Leads Braves over Blue Devils

The Braves run through the Pink-Out banner before Friday's big 35-21 region win over Manchester

The Braves run through the Pink-Out banner before Friday’s big 35-21 region win over Manchester

(Franklin) — For the first time since week two a healthy Austin Barron took the field, leading the Heard County Braves (4-3, 2-0) to a huge 35-21 Region 5-AA win over the Manchester Blue Devils (4-3, 1-1) Friday night at Staples Stadium.

Barron scored four times for the Braves including three on the ground and one through the air from Emory Jones. Barron rushed for 104 yards on 17 carries and caught two passes.

Barron suffered an ankle injury in the Callaway game early in the season and Friday he seemed to be getting his stride back.

“For Austin to be back –you know as a dad seeing him miss four games and him having to watch or with him try to grind through when he is really hurt is frustrating for him,” said Coach Barron after the game.

“You know a high school career is short and we have limited time on the field together and to see Austin healthy — I am just happy for him as a dad and as a coach.”

Jones also had another outstanding night leading the offense and continues to improve each week. The sophomore quarterback completed 10 of 13 passes for 106 yards and two touchdowns.

The key series for the Braves offense came just before the half. With the score tied at 14-14 Jones found Jaden Moreland on a short pass to the end zone with just two seconds to go in the half to give the Braves a 21-14 lead and a lot of momentum heading into the locker rooms.

Two Blue Devil penalties including an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and a pass interference call negating a Blue Devil interception were crucial to setting up the last second score.

Head coach Tim Barron credits his offensive coordinator for the gutsy call to forego the short field goal.

“Randall Curbow called the play and Jaden Moreland was well-covered, but got a good ball from Emory and Jaden reeled it in,” said Barron.

Senior Chandler Polk had a nice night receiving the ball, catching three passes from Jones one which set up a short Barron TD.

The offensive line consisting of seniors Chandler Moon, Hunter Lane, Jacob Bishop, Andrew Cannon, and freshman Michael Cheney continued to do a great job controlling the line of scrimmage up front.

On the defensive side of the ball, the seniors also led the charge with Quay Daniel garnering 10 tackles including two for a loss. Diamond Delgado, Matt Brown, and Austin Barron each had nine tackles.

The defense had three sacks and held the Blue Devil offense in check most of the night with the exception of two long rushing TD’s, the last coming with under two minutes to play in the game and several underclassmen on the field.

“I am so proud of the way the team played four quarters,” Barron stated. “They were resilient and they just kept battling and battling — it was  a tough fought ball game I am proud to see them execute.”

Maybe the best news of the night was the return of some much healthier athletes after the bye week.

“Not just Austin, but you know Rad Brooks is healthy and Ethan Brant is getting healthy – seeing them moving and playing the way they are capable of playing is so good for us right now,” said Barron.

Despite a couple of big plays given up defensively, Barron was proud of his team’s effort versus a top region foe.

“Manchester’s coach Evan Hochstetler does a great job over there offensively — he is always going to give you something you haven’t seen and they hurt us on couple of things but that is a compliment to those guys,” added Barron.

“You talk about a team win — it is best in the game of football because it takes 11 guys executing all at once and all the time. To see our guys having fun — I am so proud and happy for them.”

The Braves have very little time to celebrate as they prepare to meet another huge region rival this Friday night when the Bowdon Red Devils come to Franklin for a 7:30 kickoff.

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