October 29, 2020

Braves set to battle Trojans

(Franklin) — After a very exciting second half finish to the longest road trip in Heard County history last Friday night, the Braves varsity football team looks to continue the magical postseason run when they return home to the friendly confines of Staples Stadium this week to take on the Brooks County Trojans in the GHSA State Quarterfinals.

The Black Friday showdown with the Trojans matches the longest state playoff run in school history, matching the 1990 Braves squad coached by Norris Vaughn which lost to the Dacula Falcons 20-14 at Staples Stadium on November 30, 1990.

Senior Duranta Dunson leads the Braves into the huge game tonight at 7:30 at Staples Stadium versus the Brooks County Trojans

Senior Duranta Dunson leads the Braves into the huge game tonight at 7:30 at Staples Stadium versus the Brooks County Trojans

This Braves team (4-1 in Region 5-AA, 7-5 overall) has experienced a lot of highs and lows already during these playoffs after two totally different game scenarios landed them in this spot.

In the first round two weeks ago the Braves hosted the Wesleyan Wolves from a strong Region 6-AA and jumped out to a huge lead in the first half before holding on for the 28-21 win as the Wolves stormed back.

Last week’s game was the polar opposite as it was the Braves who finished strong outscoring the Screven County Gamecocks 28-0 in the second half after barely being able to get going offensively in the first half.

The Braves defense played an outstanding game limiting the big and athletic Gamecocks to only 116 yards on the night.

Coach Barron’s squad did suffer a tough loss to injury, however, as safety Mike Holmes left the game with a broken leg. Amazingly, Holmes stayed in the game and made another tackle on the next play after the injury.

The Trojans (5-1 in Region 1-AA, 9-3 overall) are led by seventh year coach Maurice Freeman and are no strangers to postseason play having made it to the quarterfinals for three straight years including a run to the state semi-finals just last year before falling to the eventual Class AA state champion Lovett Lions 35-12.

Last year’s run was especially remarkable after the team suffered the tragic loss of three starters in an auto accident during the summer of 2013.

The Braves win over the Gamecocks last week was also very significant historically as it brought the Braves football program to an even winning percentage (226-226-3) for the first time in school history.

The fact that a win Friday night could give the Heard County Braves program an all time winning record is quite a testament to Barron’s accomplishments over the last 13 years. The Braves football program began in 1972.

A festive atmosphere is expected for the quarterfinal match-up with the school sponsoring a community tailgate and pep rally beginning at 2:00 p.m. in the main parking lot.


download (10)WHEN/WHERE: Friday 7:30 pm @ Staples Stadium (Franklin)

RECORDS/RANKINGS: The Trojans are 9-3, the No. 2 seed from Region 1-AA and ranked #8 by the AJC ; Heard County is 7-5, the No. 2 seed from 5-AA and unranked by the AJC.

COACHES: Braves head coach Tim Barron has a lifetime record of 112-66 in 16 total seasons including 102-46 in 13 seasons at Heard County, Trojans head coach Maurice Freeman is 161-86 in 21 total seasons lifetime and 70-20 in seven seasons at Brooks County.

SERIES HISTORY: This is the first meeting between the two teams.

TEAM RECORDS: Braves 226-226-3 in 43 seasons, Trojans 344-274-7 in 56 seasons.

DEEPEST STATE PLAYOFF RUN: The 1990 Braves reached the state quarterfinals (AA), the 1994 Trojans won a State Championship in Class A.

TEAM COLORS: Braves (Maroon and White), Trojans (Red, White, and Blue)

WEATHER:  Clears skies and 38 degrees at kick-off, Clear and 35 degrees on the way home (0% chance of rain).

TICKETS: $12 all ages (only infants in arms do not pay), Official GHSA passes only

ON THE LINE: A trip to the state semi-finals to face the winner between Lovett (No. 2 seed Region 6-AA) and Benedictine (No. 2 seed Region 2-AA). The Braves or Trojans will flip a coin for home field with either team on Saturday morning.

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