December 7, 2021

Football Preview: No. 2 Braves vs. No. 1 Hornets

(Franklin, GA) — A capacity crowd is expected to file into the home side of Staples Stadium at HCHS tomorrow night where the Class AA No. 2 ranked Heard County Braves football team will host a familiar opponent in the defending Class AA State Champions and current No. 1 ranked Hapeville Charter Hornets.

The game will mark the first time in the history of Staples Stadium and the Heard County football program that two top-ranked teams (AJC Poll) have faced one another in either the regular or the postseason. No. 2 is also the highest ranking ever for the Braves in the AJC Poll.

Heard County players, coaches, and fans alike won’t soon forget the last time Hapeville Charter played in Franklin as it was a heart-breaking last second 28-21 loss to the Hornets just last December that ended a magical state playoff run for the Braves — just one game short of the 2017 Class AA State Championship game.

The Braves were off last week after starting the season with a week one 10-3 win at Class AAAA Lagrange, while the Hornets opened the season last Saturday night by dominating Class AAAAAA River Ridge 42-0.

The Braves will not only be looking for revenge and redemption from the devastating loss in the semis last year, but will also be looking to make a statement for the 2018 season.

Head coach Tim Barron says that his team is focused primarily on themselves right now as they head into a game where all eyes in the state will be focused on Franklin for the match-up of the state’s two top-ranked squads.

“We got a lot of film work in last week and it was more about us correcting the mistakes that we’ve been making and this week has been more about getting ready for Hapeville Charter,” says Barron. “Obviously, we are not clicking on offense like we want to be right now but we did make a lot of improvements from the scrimmage to the Lagrange game and we expect to make even more progress heading into this week. Our preparation is all about us and focusing on us getting better and better each week — making it more about the process than the opponent.”

Barron says his squad won’t be holding anything back this Friday even against a Class AA opponent that they might see again come state playoff time.

“We have never been one of those teams to not show this or not show that because we think we might see a team again down the road,” Barron states. “Each week our philosophy as coaches is to give our kids the best opportunity to win that week’s game on that Friday night. As far as our preparation, we will prepare and do whatever we can do to win every game.”

An electric atmosphere at Staples Stadium should be an advantage for the Braves if the home crowd can bring the noise against the Hornets.

The pregame festivities will kick off Friday afternoon with The Walker Cadillac Buick GMC Tailgate Show emanating live at Staples Stadium starting at 5:00 PM with the Braves vs. Hornets being featured as Carrollton’s B92.1 Country Game of the Week.

The HCHS Cheerleaders will be kicking off the day even earlier as they travel to Centralhatchee Elementary Friday morning for an  8:00 AM Pep Rally followed by another Pep Rally at Heard High later on during Braves block.

All fans are encouraged to tailgate in the school parking lot near the radio broadcast crew prior to the game (7:30 Pm kickoff).

Tickets are $8 each at the gate or can be purchased in advance at any Heard County school for just $6 each. Children 5 and under are admitted for free.

The Braves will travel to Rockmart (2-0) next week for another match-up with a top 10 team. The Yellow Jackets are currently ranked No. 9 by the AJC.

Heard Co. Braves vs. Hapeville Hornets

WHEN: Friday, August 31 @ 7:30 PM

WHERE: Staples Stadium

ADDRESS: 545 Main St, Franklin, GA 30217

BROADCASTS: The game will be featured as the B92.1 Country Game of the Week with Mitch Gray and Verland Best calling the action and Clay Harden reporting from the sidelines. Georgia Public Television will also be at the game reporting the action on GPB-TV.

PREGAME FESTIVITIES: Please bring your signs and noise makers to show community support for the Heard County Braves. Everyone is invited to stay in the parking lot to tailgate and help create a “college game day type atmosphere” for the arrival of the B-92.1 Tailgate Show at 5:00 PM. The Tailgate Show is hosted by Coach Charles Jetmore, Nathan Horsley, Matt Skinner, and Clay Harden. Heard High students are encouraged to wear neon colors and sit in the specially designated student section. 

ENTERTAINMENT: The Marching Braves will unveil the ‘U.S.S. Heard County’ as part of the 2018 Halftime Show.

RECORDS: Braves (1-0, 0-0 in Region 5-AA), Hornets (1-0, 0-0 in Region 6-AA)

HEAD COACHES: Braves – Tim Barron (130-57 in his 17th season with the Braves), Hornets — Winston Gordon (39-34-1 in his 8th season with the Hornets)

RANKINGS: Braves (AJC No. 2 in Class AA), Hornets (AJC No. 1 in Class AA)

SERIES: The  Hornets lead the all-time series 1-0

NEXT WEEK: Braves @ No. 9 Rockmart, Hornets are off

COLORS: Braves (Maroon and Gray), Hornets (Navy and Yellow)

SCHOOL WEBSITES: Hapeville Charter High SchoolHeard County High School

ADMISSION: $8 at the gate or available $6 via pre-sale at any Heard County school

WEATHER: Partly Cloudy with a 15% chance of rain and a temperature of 80-82 degrees at kickoff

(Photo Courtesy of Jeff Napier)

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