October 28, 2020

Chasing History: Braves primed for Black Friday Showdown

(Thomasville, GA) — The Heard County Brave football team pulled out of Heard High on two charter buses Thursday afternoon — bound for Florida State University in Tallahassee to further prepare for this weekend’s huge playoff game at Thomasville.

The Braves and Bulldogs will meet for the first time in South Georgia tonight in the GHSA Class AA State Quarterfinals where each squad will be looking to move one step closer to a State Championship appearance at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 9 in Atlanta.

The Braves are looking to become the first team in school history to reach the semifinals in football since the program began in 1972.

The only other two teams to make the quarterfinals were the 1991 and 2014 teams who each were eliminated in close losses at Staples Stadium.

This will be the first Brave team to face the quarterfinal challenge on the road and the Bulldogs will present a stiff challenge to be sure.

The Region 1-AA Champions enter the game undefeated at 12-0 with signature wins over rivals Brooks County and Fitzgerald. The Bulldogs trailed in both of those match-ups including a fierce comeback win over Brooks County on October 27 after trailing 20-0 at halftime.

The Bulldogs knocked off Jeff Davis and Dublin to reach these quarterfinals while the Braves dispatched South Atlanta and Pepperell.

While typically being on the road is considered to be a disadvantage to a team, in this case it might be a benefit especially with school not in session for the holiday week.

Coach Tim Barron and staff have had full control of the team’s comings and goings for the past two days even holding a short walk-through practice before they boarded those buses yesterday.

In terms of fan support, the travel may also be of benefit with more of the die-hard Brave fans being able to cheer on the team from the stands rather than working as they normally would at a home game. A large contingent of Brave fans are expected to make the 210 mile trip to Thomasville.

‘Friday Nights in Franklin’ have become so big that parents and other fans are always too busy handling duties such as parking, concessions, and other tasks that they are often unable to cheer on the team but tonight they will be free to enjoy the night while the Bulldog Nation play hosts.

Senior stand-outs Emory Jones and Jaden Moreland have already established almost every school record in passing, receiving, and pass defense but tonight they will get the chance to cement their legacy with a win never before achieved in the history of the program.

Aaron Beasley should be a huge factor for the Braves on both sides of the ball in a quarterfinal showdown at Thomasville (Photo: Rodney East)

The young but now more experienced offensive line will also look to seize an opportunity to shine against a strong Bulldog defense that has allowed just over 16 points per game.

Offensive coordinator Randall Curbow and the juggernaut Brave offense will try and continue to shine as they have all season long while averaging well over 30 points per contest.

In addition to Jones and Moreland, the Braves will also continue to count on big play from junior running back Aaron Beasley and junior receiver Alijah Huzzie.

One of the top Brave defenses of all time will also be on full display tonight in South Georgia. Coach D.J. Curbow’s Brave defense have also allowed just over 16 per game — a number skewed by the fact that many of those points were given up by the JV defense in throw away situations late in games.

Top tacklers for the squad this year have included Kendaz Goode, Andrew Leak, David Urquilla, Micaiah Austin, and Tray Owens with Tray Dunson also a huge factor at end after changing positions midway through the season.

If the Braves win tonight they will host either State No. 1 Benedictine or State No. 2 Hapeville Charter next week in Franklin. If the Braves can get past the No. 3 Bulldogs tonight and the No. 1 or No. 2 team next week they will certainly have earned their way to Mercedes-Benz Stadium in a big way.

For those unable to make the trip tonight, the game will be broadcast live on Carrollton’s B92.1 Country with play-by-play from Thomas Eriquezzo and color commentary from Clay Harden.

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